September 4th 2010
Preparations began on September 3rd 2010 to attempt to move dolphins Misha and Tom to their rehabilitation site.
News received on Wednesday alerted us to a sudden change of circumstances surrounding the ownership of the dolphins - was a rescue now possible?
After hours of negotiations on Friday evening, which followed a 3 month campaign, the team from Born Free and British Divers Marine Life Rescue finally got the go ahead to attempt a rehabilitation programme for the two dolphins who've been confined in a tiny, filthy pool in Hisaronu, Turkey since June.
The move to the rehab site - and their ultimate release back to wild will be far from straight forward. John Knight, Born Free's senior vet consultant said 'This has been a really speedy rescue mission pulled together in 48 hours as the condition of the pool and the water severly jeopardises the health of these beautiful animals. Poor water quality is unfortunately a common cause of rapid decline and death in dolphins and we just hope we've got here in time. We'll do our absolute best; we've got the best team possible including ex-dolphin trainer turned fierce advocate for their freedom Doug Cartlidge. If the dolphins stand any chance of regaining their freedom, this is it.
As we write this, part of the team is heading to the rehab site with Born Free's Turkish project partners the Underwater Research Society for final preparations to the sea pen. Meanwhile, the dolphins wait in their pool as the rescue kit and diving equipment is checked.
Local advocacy group, Dolphin Angels, aided by the project lawyer Sule Beder are busy preparing the last minute needs; buying freezers for the fish; sorting transport; getting ice.
Born Free project directors Alison Hood and Shirley Galligan are on site coordinating the rescue mission. 'We could not have assembled a better team if we'd had two months to prepare for this move. British Divers' Alan Knight and Mark Stevens along with John and Doug will give this project the best chance of success - but we must remember we are dealing with severely compromised dolphins and a very limited time window to make this happen'