Thursday, April 06, 2006

Increasing the dolphin population is not as easy task!

Mote Marine officials rescued an apparently ill bottlenose dolphin after it tried to beach itself on Longboat Key this afternoon.

The juvenile female dolphin, which was found about 3:30 p.m. on the Gulf side of the island, was taken to Mote Marine Laboratory's Dolphin and Whale Hospital for rehabilitation. Early this evening, the dolphin - which has been named Kaya - was swimming on its own in a tank at the hospital, according to Mote's Web site,

Jamie Tacy, spokeswoman for Mote, said the dolphin was found near a trailer park in the 3700 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive.

Before officials from Mote arrived, witnesses were trying to coax the dolphin back out into the water.

That was the the wrong thing to do, Tacy said.

"When a dolphin, whale or sea turtle comes up on a beach, it is suffering from some sort of distress, it is a sick animal," Tacy said.

What people should do if they come upon a beached dolphin is call Mote, which is designated as a rehabilitation facility for sick sea creatures, Tacy said.

Tacy said officials did not know what had sickened the dolphin found on Saturday. She said the animal had lesions on its skin that appeared to have healed, but officials did not know if those were related to the animal's attempt to beach itself.

Mote's Web site reports that Kaya also has numerous rake marks and a swollen shoulder that will be x-rayed soon. It has been given fluids, antibiotics and vitamin E/selenium.

Tacy said the dolphin would remain at Mote until National Marine Fisheries Service determines it is fit to be returned to the Gulf of Mexico.

There are currently three other dolphins being treated at Mote. Before Saturday, the most recent arrival was Val, an adult female bottlenose dolphin who was brought to Mote Feb. 12 after it was rescued from a mudflat near Oldsmar, according to Mote's Web site.

To report a stranding of a dolphin, whale, manatee or sea turtle, call Mote's Stranding Investigation Program's 24-hour pager at (941) 988-0212. For more information about the program and Mote's Dolphin and Whale Hospital, go to

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"