In June 2014, two Guiana dolphins (Sotalia guianensis) were tagged and released in the Pozos Colorados (Santa Marta) area of Colombia, following rehabilitation from injuries believed to have been incurred from fishing nets. The dolphins, an adult female and a juvenile female, had been rescued by fishermen in September 2013 and brought to the Aquarium and Sea Museum in Rodadero for treatment.
Over the months, ‘Luna’ and ‘Karolina’ nearly doubled their weight at admission, all their wounds were healed and there was even a visible recovery of lost tissue, making it clear that they were ready to be released. The Fundacion Omacha (acting as technical advisors) began to evaluate various scenarios for release, and suggested holding a soft release, i.e., a process in which individuals are gradually adapted to a change in the food and confinement space in order to free them. In order to minimize potential problems from extended transport time, it was decided to release them in the nearby area of Pozos Colorados in Santa Marta, near where they were found. They were both tagged with Wildlife Computers SPLASH tags provided by SDRP to provide location and dive data, and they were released on 8 June 2014. One of the dolphins was tracked for 2 days before transmissions ceased for unknown reasons. The other was tracked for 80 days in coastal waters known to be frequented by Guiana dolphins, making dives to more than 10 m depth. This represents the first time this species has been tagged with satellite-linked transmitters.
This article was published on page 24 in the November 2014 issue of Nicks n Notches