#MARINE WILDLIFE - A stranded dolphin has been successfully refloated for the first time ever in Ireland thanks to the efforts of volunteers with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).
Volunteers on the scene discovered the female dolphin's skin was still moist, which indicated it had only recently stranded.
After checking for injuries, the team decided not to wait for special whale pontoons to arrive from Kilrush and instead used a local farmer's tractor and low loader to lift the dolphin out of the sand.
The dolphin was slowly moved back to the water, where she was stabilised before she regained composure and was able to swim away.
Images of the dolphin's dorsal fin were captured by the volunteers for the IWDG's records, which enabled researchers to confirm subsequent sightings among a pod of some 140 dolphins swimming in the estuary - with the latest spotting on 27 June on a dolphin-watching boat trip, where she appeared to be in good health.
In a statement, the IWDG said: "The loss of one dolphin, especially an adult female, could have a significant impact on this population, thus highlighting the importance of the prompt action on the shore at Béal."