Friday, February 02, 2007

Pregnant dolphin refuses to go back to wildlife

A pregnant bottlenose dolphin whom marine experts hoped to release Tuesday swam back to shore three times, forcing them to take her to a rehabilitation center.The 10-foot-long dolphin named Castaway had been recovering at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota since she stranded Nov. 11.

She was deemed healthy for release off Fort Pierce Tuesday, but instead of swimming offshore, she returned to the beach, according to Steve McCulloch of the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. The final effort was made by placing Castaway amid a pod of dolphins, about 2 1/2miles offshore. But the dolphin refused to stay with the pod and swam slowly back to shore.

"It's impossible to speculate why she did not respond more favorably [to the release]," McCulloch said. "Our paramount concern is she is in the third trimester of pregnancy and we are actually dealing with two dolphins, not one."Castaway was taken to the Marine Mammal Conservancy in the Florida Keys.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"