CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Officers with the Charleston Police Department’s Harbor Patrol recently helped to free an entangled dolphin after it became caught in a crab pot line last week on the Ashley River.

The harbor patrol officers worked with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network to free the dolphin from the line.

“Marine mammal protection is essential to our ecosystem and the wellbeing of several species here in Charleston. Thankfully this rescue ended positively, and the dolphin appeared to be in good health,” said Charleston PD.

Zach Allen was one of the officers who assisted the dolphin. He said they received a call for a distressed dolphin on Thursday. Police spent hours searching for the animal but couldn’t find it. The next day, they went back and checked about 10 buoys until they finally saw one bouncing up and down. It was the dolphin.

After about 30 minutes, they were able to get ahold of the dolphin. While two other officers held the animal, Allen removed the rope and set it free.

“He joined up with the other dolphins and they started playing so it was pretty cool to see the dolphins get back and he seemed in good health, and he was playing around and stuff,” said Allen.

On Friday, News 2 took a boat ride with police to the location of the rescue. Three dolphins were in the same area. Officers believe there is a good possibility one of them was the dolphin that was saved. Perhaps swimming by to give thanks to CPD.

Leaders with the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network said they have responded to two incidents of dolphins entangled in crab pot lines in the past three weeks.

“Unfortunately, one didn’t make it but the second was successfully disentangled with the help of the Charleston Police Department,” they said, also reminding people that feeding and harassing marine mammals is illegal.

Police say if you see a marine mammal in distress, it’s imperative that you call 1-800-WHALE-HELP. Do not attempt to rescue the animal yourself to avoid injury to yourself or the animal.