Sunday, January 07, 2007

Trapped dolphin was rehabilitated and is to be released soon

"Kingy'' was named after Kings Beach on the Sunshine Coast where lifeguards rescued him after he became entangled in shark nets last September.

During his ordeal, Kingy's pectoral fin was almost severed and he suffered extreme exhaustion.
But he responded well to specialist care and will be set free in waters near where he was found.
Sea World's director of marine sciences Trevor Long said Kingy had a "wonderful temperament'' and staff would be sorry to see him go.

"His injuries were quite bad,'' Mr Long told ABC Radio today. "He was very fortunate he got caught near the top of the net which allowed him to breathe,'' he said.

"A lot of animals and dolphins are caught underneath the water and they drown.''

Initially, vets doubted whether they could save Kingy's badly damaged pectoral fin but he proved a resilient patient, and pulled through with the right care and food.

And it was an added bonus for staff when Kingy, believed to be in middle age, turned out to be a "bit of a character''.

"He looks up at you all the time,'' Mr Long said. "Every time you come over he's very, very, alert,'' Mr Long said.

The dolphin was to be released off the tip of nearby Bribie Island today.

"This animal would know these waters extremely well and his movements will be regulated by the tides and the moon and aggregations of fish.

"So it won't take him long before he finds his pod and I think one of the most difficult things for him will be to convince his mates where he's been.''

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"