Sunday, September 25, 2005

Help needed in dolphin's stabbing incident

STATE Government wildlife officers believe a man who rang their call centre could hold key information on a department investigation into a dolphin's death.

The Sustainability and Environment Department yesterday appealed to the man who called the department's customer service centre and the Dolphin Research Institute on Thursday to ring back.
The man's call followed widespread media coverage this week about the death of a Port Phillip bottlenose dolphin. Department workers recovered the body near Geelong's Eastern Beach after people walking at Limeburners Point spotted it about 30 metres off shore on Monday.

Department spokesman Ron Waters said department investigators needed to speak to the caller as soon as possible.

``Until we have the opportunity to speak with this person we cannot speculate on the likely authenticity of his information,.'' Mr Waters said.

He urged the man, who had given detailed, identical information to the customer service centre and the institute, to call the centre again on 136 186.

``As terrific as it is to get anonymous information, we have to check the veracity of that information,'' Mr Waters said.

``Please feel confident in calling us, your report to us will be absolutely confidential, that is a guarantee, but we would like to speak to you.''

``If you ring the customer service centre you will be connected with an investigator.''

Mr Waters confirmed yesterday that extensive pathology tests were underway to definitively determine the cause of the dolphin's death. Seven people had called the centre about the incident.
Corio veterinary surgeon Dr Verne Dove, who did the post mortem, told the Geelong Advertiser on Wednesday someone would have ``needed a good 30cm knife and a fair bit of force to create the injuries''.

When news of the dolphin's death surfaced earlier this week, department investigators planned to interview a fisherman claiming to have stabbed a dead dolphin in an attempt to sink it.

``We've followed that report through but are looking at all information in this instance,'' Mr Waters said.
``. . .We're looking at that information, the pathology information that will come in the next few days and we'd certainly like to hear from this male caller who provided some quite specific information to us on Thursday.''

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"