Dolphin stuck in River Torrens estuary off West Beach returns to sea at high tide tonight, says expert

A wild dolphin stuck in a river outlet appears to beachgoers west of Adelaide this morning, but experts have warned people not to approach it.

Wildlife experts believe the dolphin was washed into the Torrens River off West Beach during high tide early this morning before lingering as the tide went out.

Since then, it has been seen frolicking in the water, making relapses and tails walking in front of a crowd.

Local resident Jason said he had seen the dolphin since the early morning hours.

A little girl and a little boy stand on the bank of a river mouth and watch a dolphin as it turns through the water
The dolphin swims “happily around” at the Torrens River outlet at West Beach this morning.(

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“He’s obviously come through there are some fish here, so he’s hung around and had a good feed like they do,” he said.

He said it was common to see dolphins in the area and that this one had “shown itself to the crowd” by making turns.

A young woman wearing a towel dress
Marine biology student Mackenzie Richardson.(

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Marine biology student Mackenzie Richardson said she was driving along the road when she saw the crowd build down on the beach.

“I ran down and saw the dolphin break a few times, it has some seaweed on its dorsal fin, it’s really special,” she said.

“You can really see like all the intricate details in its fins, it’s really cool.

“It’s interesting that there’s only one in here because it’s animals that like to be in groups, so maybe he has some friends out in the water waiting for him.”

‘Please do not intervene’, says expert

Australian Marine Wildlife Research & Rescue Organization Aaron Machado said it was important for people not to intervene or try to help the dolphin.

“This is not the first time this has happened, and it will not be the last.

“It’s brackish water, so I know a lot of people have called and said they’re concerned about water quality.

“It’s not perfect that a small stream of water comes out of Torrens, but it’s brackish water, so it’s a mixture of sea and fresh, and the animal can sustain itself for 48 hours, not a problem.”

A man with dark hair in a navy blue polo shirt with logos on stands on the beach
Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization’s Aaron Machado said the dolphin probably learned the tricks it did from a companion.(

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He said it was likely the dolphin would be able to swim back this evening.

“It will do it, it will do it, believe me. Around 7pm tonight it should be fine,” he said.

He also urged people to stick to the 50 meter long “no approach zone” around the dolphin.

It’s the law, as much as people want to help, they have to make sure they take care of themselves, ”he said.

“If the animal exhales and you breathe in, it has a zoonotic disease you could potentially get. So there are rules in place not only for your safety but also the dolphins.”

Dolphin has probably learned tricks from the ‘Marineland’ companion

Machado said the tail that the dolphin walked had done in front of the crowds this morning was a learned behavior that it probably took from a fellow dolphin in its pod.

A dolphin tail walks through the water while a woman hangs on the sand behind it to film on her phone
The dolphin has delighted locals on West Beach this morning.(

ABC News: Mahalia Carter


“This dolphin could very well have interacted with the dolphins from the Port River,” he said.

“There are a number of dolphins in Port River who have done it themselves.

“It was here that she learned the behavior we believe in, and she has passed it on to others.”


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