The Sarasota Dolphin Research Program has rescued many dolphins over the years.
These rescues vary from remote disentanglement of fishing line, to treatment and release in the field, to transport for rehabilitation at Mote’s dolphin and whale hospital.
An important part of any intervention is post-release monitoring in order to learn what works and what does not in each situation, and to be able to intervene if necessary. Below are updates on four success stories of rescued dolphins:
Scrappy: In July 2006, Scrappy, a juvenile male was observed entangled in a men’s Speedo bathing suit. He had managed to put his head through the waist and one of the leg holes, and the suit had worked its way back to the point where it was cutting into his pectoral fins. On 3 August 2006, Scrappy was temporarily captured, and the suit was removed. Injuries from the entanglement were considered potentially life-threatening. Now 14 years old, Scrappy has been seen 14 times in 2012. He was seen most recently on 10 September in Big Pass, with three other young male dolphins.
FB28: In June 2007, FB28, an adult male originally tagged in 1971, was seen entangled in monofilament fishing line. The line was tightly wrapped three times from his fluke to his dorsal fin. On 6 July 2007, SDRP staff members were able to use a long handled cutting tool to remove much of the line while FB28 was free swimming (not an easy task). Some line was left on the fluke, but the tension had been released, and the line later cleared completely from the fluke. FB28 is now 47 years old – the oldest known living male in Sarasota Bay. He has been seen 7 times in 2012, most recently on 20 July in Palma Sola Bay.
Ginger: In December 2008, Ginger, a recently independent juvenile female dolphin stranded on Siesta Beach. After being stabilized on the beach by SDRP staff, she was taken to Mote, treated for complications from the stranding, and released two months later. The SDRP radio-tagged her and closely monitored her for two months post-release until the tag transmissions ceased, as designed. Ginger has since been regularly seen during our monthly population monitoring surveys. She is now 7 years old, and was seen most recently on 14 September with another female of similar age. She has been seen 24 times in 2012, further expanding her range as she matures. On several of her recent sightings she has been on a “date” with a local male alliance. Maybe there will be a little Ginger next year?
Nellie: In February 2010, the 9-month-old calf of resident dolphin FB25 was seen with plastic twine and a metal hook tightly wrapped just behind her head. She was temporarily captured, disentangled and released on 1 March 2010. She was named “Nellie” in honor of Dr. Nelio Barros, a great friend and colleague, who had recently passed away. This year, Nellie was one of the ten dolphins involved in the new tag design study (see article in this edition). She was found to be in very good condition. She has been seen 23 times in 2012, most recently on 10 September, close to where she was rescued.
This article was published on page 28 in the January 2013 Nicks n Notches.
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