Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dolphin sent back home after seven months of rehab

A rare dolphin, once sick and stranded in Southwest Florida made his final journey home. Scientists and volunteers from the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota loaded the rare dolphin onto a boat - took him about 80-miles out to the ocean and set him free.

Clyde, a 650 pound Risso's dolphin, stranded himself off Marco Island along with five others seven months ago. He nearly died there.

"Clyde responded very well to the treatment, despite having a few ongoing medical problems in the beginning months," said Jamie Tacy of Mote Marine Laboratory.

Three of the stranded dolphins died and the fourth, named Bonnie, died only a few days ago at Mote.

That left Clyde, still weak, determined to live on.

"There's really been a lot of time and effort put into the rehabilitation of this dolphin," said Tacy.
When the scientists decided to return him to the ocean, they needed a boat big enough to move Clyde. Cathy Unruh jumped at the chance and donated her yacht for the voyage.

"It literally took us no time at all to decide, we measured the cockpit, we could do it, how could you not," said Unruh.

Clyde was taken about 80 miles out to the sea to be released. Before he was released, he was fitted with transmitting devices so scientists can track his every move.

Although they were sad to see him go, if everything goes well - Clyde will never return again.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"