Monday, July 23, 2007

Bottlenose dolphin rescued in Long Island

A bottle-nosed dolphin that swam up a series of inlets from the Great South Bay was rescued from a shallow canal Saturday, but will need months of rehabilitation before it can be returned to the ocean, marine preservation officials said. The sleek, black mammal was discovered hovering near a wooden bulkhead in the brackish waters of the Seabreeze Canal by residents who alerted authorities.

"He did seem to be in distress," said Bob O'Brien a retired Nassau County police officer who lives on the canal. "He just kept surfacing for air. He was taking great big breaths and sticking up his nose out of the water." The dolphin, which weighed 471 pounds and was nearly 9 feet long, was in critical condition, said Rob DiGiovanni, executive director of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. Blood samples were taken and several tests were performed on the dolphin, but biologists will not know what ails it for a few weeks, DiGiovanni said.

The dolphin was being held at the Atlantis Marine World, which gives space to the Riverhead Foundation. Several species of dolphins are common in the ocean waters south of Long Island, but they rarely venture into the Great South Bay and are almost never seen in the series of channels and inlets that go through South Shore communities, DiGiovanni said.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"