By Mikey Jones
This heartbreaking footage shows a man risking his life in an attempt to save a beached dolphin.
Paul Gardiner, 45, originally from South Africa but currently based in Surrey, spotted the dolphin in need of help when going for a run on the beach at Kleinemond in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
Paul, who works at a Bear Grylls Survival Academy, said he only considered the dolphin’s welfare when he went to save it even though the area of coastline where it had beached itself was known to be dangerous.
But after an hour and a half of Paul repeatedly taking the dolphin back into the water, the dolphin tragically didn’t make it and died of exhaustion.
The 45-year-old said: “I was about six kilometres into my run when I noticed the dolphin beached on the sand.
“The weather was really stormy so I presumed that’s what had caused it to wash up and I thought it was dead.
“But when I went up and saw it was still alive, it was my natural instinct to help it despite the potential dangers.
“Only 20 per cent of wildlife actually go on to live after washing up on the shore.
“I grew up around animals so I get easily attached to them.
“I was very emotional when it didn’t make it – it was difficult to walk away.”
Rainer Schimpf from AB Marine and Expert Tours heard about the ordeal and applauded Paul’s efforts to save the dolphin.
He said: “Paul did the best he could but safety for humans is always number one – he would have put his own live in danger had he swam out the dolphin deeper into the water.
“This video shows that there is a connection between dolphins and humans and that we can always try do to our best helping each other.”