Updated Jan. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
SeaWorld Animal Rescue crews came to Imperial Beach Wednesday morning to retrieve an injured bottlenose dolphin, said Imperial Beach lifeguard Captain Robert Stabenow.
"We had a baby dolphin, probably about four feet long, beach itself at Beach Avenue and we called SeaWorld and they came down and picked it up," he said.
The dolphin had a bleeding cut on the tip of its nose and scrapes on its back but Stabenow did not know the extent of the dolphin's injuries or what made the animal want to come to the beach.
"Lifeguards picked up the dolphin and placed into the ocean. The dolphin swam immediately back to shore and beached itself," he said.
A family walking on the beach spotted the animal around 8:45 a.m. After lifeguards made an unsuccessful attempt to return the dolphin to the water, "Lifeguard Matt Chism monitored and swam in the ocean with the dolphin for approximately 50 minutes," until SeaWorld arrived at 9:45 a.m., Stabenow said.
Longtime lifeguard and Imperial Beach resident Ben Holt also helped take care of the dolphin.
SeaWorld did not respond to a recent request for comment.
Last week, a rescue crew released a rehabilitated sea lion named Buck at Border Field State Park after it was shot in the face with a shotgun.
Adult bottlenose dolphins range from 6 to 12.5 feet in length, according to NOAA Fisheries.
People who spot injured or stranded animals are encouraged to report the sighting to a lifeguard or call SeaWorld Animal Rescue at 800-541-SEAL.
Stay tuned to IB Patch for more details and photos as they emerge.