BEACHgoers have been reminded to keep a safe distance from wildlife after a dolphin washed ashore at Lady Bay.
Warrnambool’s Brent Greening was out running at Lady Bay on Friday morning when he assisted another beachgoer to put the dolphin back in the sea.
“I came across Paul Lougheed and he was tipping water on the dolphin and he asked if I would mind giving him a hand,” he said.
“We took it out and put it in the shallow water.
“It took about five to 10 minutes to get its bearings and then it started to swim away.
“It was actually a lovely way to start the day. It makes this such a nice place to live.”
Mr Greening said he arrived on the scene about 7am but the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) had been contacted about the incident at 6am.
He said the dolphin was about one metre long and about 10 to 15 metres from the water.
DEPI senior biodiversity officer Mandy Watson said the dolphin was reported to be injured.
“We understand members of the public returned the animal to the water, thinking they were doing the right thing,” she said.
She said biodiversity staff would continue to search for the dolphin and anyone who saw it should notify them.
“When the animal is located DEPI will monitor its condition and seek veterinary assistance if it is injured,” she said.
“We remind people that all dolphins are protected wildlife under the Victorian Wildlife Act and there are rules and regulations in place to protect both people and marine mammals.”
Ms Watson said anyone who finds the dolphin should keep a safe distance from the animal and report its location by calling the whale and dolphin emergency hotline on 1300 136 017.