Sunday, July 30, 2006

Swimming with dolphin, the experience of a lifetime!

I was in deep water, over-my-head deep, my left hand grasping Yoshi's dorsal fin and my right hand on her right flipper.Her skin was an iridescent gray, smooth and rubbery like an inner tube, but not cold to the touch. Not cold at all.The dolphin trainer asked, "Are you ready?" I nodded. Then, on signal, Yoshi and I were off in a splash, taking an Orlando thrill ride of a different sort.

Being a bit on the young side, Yoshi wasn't as long as the older dolphins, so I took care to keep my feet clear of her tail as we sped toward another trainer and the shallow end of the manmade lagoon -- the ride of a lifetime finished in less than a minute.The one-on-one dolphin swim is the crowning experience at Discovery Cove, the high-dollar-andworth- every-penny sister property to SeaWorld Orlando.When it comes to shows, it's hard to upstage a 10,000-pound whale.

To see killer whales at all is show enough. But to watch the photogenic black-and-white creatures interact with trainers and exhibit natural behaviors on cue transcends entertainment and enters the realm of ooooh.SeaWorld Orlando is also offering a new spectacle called "Believe," which opened in May in the renovated 5,000-seat Shamu Stadium. The cast of 24 killer whales and their trainers have worked for almost two years on the choreography for the show, which has its own originalmusic.

At the opposite end of the park fromShamu, the 2,600-seatWhale and Dolphin Theatre offers "Blue Horizons" -- the kind of show Cirque du Soleil might attempt if it could put dolphins and false whales under contract. Acrobats dressed as birds bungee jump 40 feet above the 900,000-gallon tank, or somersault into it against a set staged by a Broadway designer and decorated with enormous bubbles.

Blue and gold macaws and an Andean condor fly through the open-air theater as acrobats shoot up from the water, balanced on the noses of false whales.On a smaller scale, the endearing "Pets Ahoy!" takes the stage in the air-conditioned confines of the 850-seat Seaport Theatre. Cats and dogs, most rescued from animal shelters, are the headliners here in routines that hide their human trainers behind the scenes for most of the show.

There's a real temptation to concentrate on the shows at the expense of other SeaWorld experiences, but giving in to that impulse would be a mistake. This place is home tomore than 17,000 animals,which can be viewed:

Along tropical walkways -- flamingos, alligators, turtles, sea lions, otters and manatees.

Through underwater windows -- dolphins, sharks and killer whales.

In specialized habitats -- stingrays, penguins, polar bears and Clydesdale horses.

During a meal -- sharks and killerwhales. You may want to consider reservations for Sharks Underwater Grill, a table-service restaurant where you can watch through vast picture windows as more than 50 sharks patrol their 660,000-gallon tank.

You'll definitely need to book ahead to Dine With Shamu, an all-you-can-eat buffet ($37 adults, $19 ages 3-9) at the killer-whale habitat.For an extra fee ($16 adults, $12 ages 3-9), you can take one of three, hour-long behind-thescenes tours.

The Saving a Species tour leads you inside an exoticbird aviary and shows you the facilities where SeaWorld brings rescued sea turtles andmanatees for rehab. Or, you can pet a baby shark and go backstage at Shamu Stadium on the Predators tour.I took the Polar Expedition and saw veterinarians examining beluga whales, was dwarfed by the filtration system for the killerwhale pools and stopped petting a penguin just seconds before it would have relieved itself on me.

Or try the Dolphin Nursery Close-Up ($40) for poolside interaction with Atlantic bottlenose dolphin mothers and, nature permitting, their babies. For $150, you can don a wet suit and diving helmet and enter a shark-proof cage to get as close as safely possible to the toothy predators on the Sharks Deep Dive; $179 gets you a session in the Beluga Interaction Program.

And the Marine Mammal Keeper Experience, at $399, puts participants alongside an animal keeper for a day.Orlando being Orlando, you can't forget the rides. Serious coaster buffs can take on Kraken, billed as Orlando's only floor-less roller coaster. The thing leaves feet -- and very likely more than a few stomachs -- dangling as it speeds, spirals and makes seven upside-down loops.Then there's Discovery Cove.

Everything about the place, across the road fromSeaWorld, feels like a five-star Caribbean resort. Continental breakfast and counter-service lunch are on the house.Only about 1,000 guests are allowed into the intimate, 30-acre park each day.

The reason to come is the dolphin swim, an hour in which you change into your park-provided wet suit, stash your belongings in a locker, attend a brief orientation session and enter the saltwater lagoon in small groups called pods, led by two animal trainers.By the end of the session, you'll have learned some simple training signals, petted a dolphin, kissed it if you want to and let it take you for a ride.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Injured dolphin rescued in Orissa

Forest officials have rescued an injured dolphin stranded at a beach in Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district and sent it back to the sea after treatment.

Some fishermen spotted the seven-feet dolphin with injury marks on its body at the Sandhakuda beach near the port town of Paradeep Thursday.

The fishermen informed forest officials, who rushed to the spot, and rescued the injured dolphin. ‘Blood was oozing from its body as it might have been hit by some trawlers or ships in the sea,’ said an official.

‘We carried the injured dolphin in a trawler three kilometres off the coast and released it in the deep seawater same day after treating the wound,’ he added.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rising water temperature results in raising dolphins numbers

RISING sea temperatures have boosted whale and dolphin numbers in Scots waters.
The sea around the north-east is proving a particular hotspot, with many more minke whales recorded than normal.

The species, which grow to around 28ft long, have been seen between Aberdeen and Fraserburgh.

They've also been spotted to the north and west, in the Moray Firth, feeding on large shoals of fish close to the surface.

Other unusual sightings in the last week included a fin whale at North Berwick.

At Fraserburgh, groups of common dolphins have arrived to feed. People are being urged to get involved in spotting for National Whale and DolphinWatch.

The event, organised by conservation and research group SeaWatch Foundation, takes place from August 12-20.

Director Dr Peter Evans said: "We think there are more sightings of whales and dolphins in eastern Scotland compared to last year. The increase reflects the rise in sea surface temperatures in recent years."

More than just observing dolphins!

Six dolphins, five adults and a calf, reside at the National Aquarium, on Pier 3, 501 E. Pratt St. in Baltimore. Admission is $21.65 for adults ($20.95 for those 60 and older) and $12.95 for children 3 to 11. Children under 3 are admitted free. m Dolphin shows are held daily at various times. Tickets, which include aquarium admission, are $24.95 for adults ($23.95 for those 60 and older) and $13.95 for children 3 to 11. Children younger than 3 get in free.

As tickets usually sell out, it's best to purchase them in advance at, but note that the aquarium tacks a $1.75 service charge onto all online orders. On a Dolphin Discovery Tour, you can go behind the scenes at the aquarium, watch the dolphins' food being prepared and meet a dolphin trainer. Children must be at least 8. Tours are scheduled for 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. July 30 and 31, and selected dates in August, September and October.

Cost, which includes aquarium admission, behind-the-scenes access and a souvenir, is $64 for adults ($60 for those older than 60) and $53 for children 8 to 11. To register, call 410/576-3833 Monday through Friday or e-mail Space is limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance by credit card. At Breakfast With the Dolphins, scheduled for 9 to 10:30 a.m. Sept. 10, Sept. 30 and Oct. 15, humans eat a continental breakfast then join dolphins and their trainers for a close-up look at a dolphin's day, including medical checkups, training and playtime.

Cost, which includes aquarium admission, is $20 for members and $40 for nonmembers. To register, call 410/727-FISH Monday through Friday and ask for code BWD-M. Children ages 8 to 10 can participate in a Junior Scientist Program on Aug. 5 to learn about dolphin care, feeding and training. Time is 1 to 3 p.m. Cost is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Admission to the aquarium is not included in the program fee. To register, call 410/727-FISH Monday through Friday and ask for code Juniors-E.

You also can "adopt" a dolphin and help support conservation efforts. More information about these and other programs can be found on the National Aquarium's Web site at

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fishing dolphins, a tradition that is soon to disappear

The fishing port of Futo in the city of Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture, stopped its traditional drive-in fishery of dolphins in fall 2004 because of restrictions imposed by the Fisheries Agency and is now trying to attract more young divers for its survival."We have become unable to eat dolphins, a meat we have eaten since ourchildhood. It is frustrating," 78-year-old fisherman Keiichi Hiyoshi saidsomberly.

When a reconnaissance vessel returned to the port telling people of a largegroup of dolphins off the coast, even residents engaged in farming rushedoffshore, and a fleet of dozens of fishing boats drove hundreds of dolphinsinto the port. It was a tradition since the Edo period (1600-1868), Kyodo News reported.But the tradition came under fire from animal protection organizations as being cruel. In 1980, a Canadian man was arrested on a charge of removing a net to prevent dolphins from escaping from the port.

Fearing that dolphins might be overfished as substitutes for whales under amoratorium on commercial whaling, the Fisheries Agency fixed a catch quota on dolphins in 1991.The labor-intensive fishing method was unprofitable with the quota, and Futo, which was the last port on the Izu Peninsula to continue such fishing, has caught no dolphin since fall 2004. The tradition is on the verge of extinction, also with aging fishermen.Fishermen can see a group of dolphins offshore even now, but they no longer pay attention. "The story ends by saying there were dolphins yesterday," Hiyoshi said.

The port is surrounded by small hills, and fishing can be done in the port even during winter when the sea is rough due to storms. But Hiyoshi is concerned about decreasing fish resources in the port.About 10 years ago, edible brown algae growing on rocks in the portdisappeared. The days of a good catch of sagittated calamari are becoming few."Is it because of wastewater or global warming? I don't know the reasonbecause it's a problem in the sea, but the environment is certainlydeteriorating," he said.

On a fine day during the rainy season in mid-June, there were young people in the port enjoying diving. Futo opened a diving center directly run by its fishery cooperative in 1988 to make up for livelihood in the fishinglow-season.Even today, the meat of dolphins caught in other prefectures is on sale at fish markets in the port, but Hiyoshi never buys it. "My pride does not let me eat it as I can catch dolphins myself," he said.

Dolphin Therapy is as excellent type of treatment

A man simply known as Robiyn, has established a new project, near Albufeira, which uses dolphins to help people solve problems and achieve greater happiness. He had great success with a similar workshop, based in Costa Rica and is keen to help the residents of the Algarve achieve inner peace using the calming effects of these sea mammals.Robiyn was born in India, in 1948, but came to Portugal at the age of 11, where he developed a great love for the culture and people. Although now based in Brazil, he travels all over the world, giving seminars and speeches on various subjects.

With his vast amount of life experience, having travelled to more than 100 countries, he set up an organisation, Renaskigi, which means “to achieve rebirth from within”. He promotes the idea of past lives and the influences they exert on our present and future. The company explores methods of relaxation, mental dialogue, human energy recycling, as well as reshaping the past, present and future. Robiyn has a particular interest in regression therapy and has a working knowledge of 64 languages and dialects.

With a rare thirst for knowledge, he has accumulated many degrees and qualifications, and has been a translator, author and teacher, as well as a television and radio presenter. Robiyn encourages people to think ‘outside the box’ in order to resolve problems in life, with a goal of living in harmony in your environment. He has conducted seminars on drug addiction, dealing with change, empowerment, self-esteem and more. Robiyn teaches alternative methods to bring about practical and immediate results in all walks of life, on a personal or professional basis. He has helped many people achieve healthier living, improved family relations, and communication between administrators and their staff.

His advice can be successfully applied to all, making no distinction between different belief systems, religions, races or political inclinations.Dolphin therapy is a form of treatment for people, with and without disabilities, to resolve life issues and problems. It dates back to the 1950s, when Dr. John Lilly studied the effects of dolphins on individuals with disabilities. A popular theory is that the dolphin’s use of sonar can increase attention span, develop motor skills and co-ordination in humans. It is also believed that interacting with them helps people relax and enables them to learn. As a result, many people develop greater self-confidence, improved social skills, depression is alleviated and studies have shown that it can also boost the immune system.

The therapy stimulates production of endorphins and hormones, which can enhance recovery and reduce pain. The new workshops in the Algarve will take place over two days. The first day will be spent on the beach, where ideas, problems and experiences will be shared, similar to group therapy. Robiyn will listen and offer advice when necessary, but is adamant that he is not there to teach. Acting as a guide, he will help you in the right direction and stop you “hitting those same brick walls”.

He will then perform mind exercises with the group to facilitate telepathic responses, which is a helpful technique to use when making contact with dolphins the following day. Apparently, the more open and trusting the mind, the more receptive the dolphins will be. The first day will serve as an introduction to dolphin therapy, and an assessment of the different problems or issues members of the group are faced with will also be made. Robiyn will share his methods of relaxation and ways to solve problems with a cool head. The second day consists of a boat trip to locate dolphins and, while this is taking place, Robiyn will be discussing ideas, as well as practicing the mind exercises from the previous day.

Once dolphins have been found, the group will venture into the sea and begin to initiate contact. In the past, groups have usually spent around five hours playing with the dolphins, but the amount of time depends on the bond established with them. The next workshops will take place on July 22/23 and August 5/6.For more information on dolphin assisted therapy, I invite you to visit the following site:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Who are the observers? Dolphins or humans?

We had nearly finished our survey today when the dolphins raised another vivid question about what they think of us.In the distance, we recognized a pair of large, scarred dolphins named Grin and Twin Dip. Grin is unmistakable. It has a large triangular chunk missing from its dorsal fin, like a macabre grin in silhouette.Grin usually swims with Twin Dip.

Their large size, constant companionship and many scars suggest they are bulls. Grin and Twin Dip were busy following and flanking a mother dolphin named LA Stick and her calf Cactus. Since Cactus was born before 2004, LA Stick may be dating again.It was strange that Twin Dip kept circling our boat. Half a dozen times, it broke from its synchronous swims with Grin to slowly circle us at close range.

It would approach from one side of the boat and swim around our bow to the other side. It would circle around back and pause as if listening and feeling the vibration of the purring engine. It made regular forays under the boat as well. Considering we were in 4 feet of water, it was like scooting under the bed on your stomach.

The circling behavior was exceptional for several reasons. None of the other dolphins stopped what they were doing to circle us. Twin Dip swam at the same depth in the water, about 1 foot under the surface. This is unusual because dolphins usually move up and down the water column. It maintained the same distance from the boat, between 7 and 10 feet from us. I rarely feel threatened when studying bottlenose dolphins at sea (swimming with them is different but you can’t do that here; its illegal to swim with wild dolphins in US waters).

Not feeling threatened is understandable. Dolphins rarely give me cause (actually, quite the opposite). They can’t hurt me in the boat, even if they wanted to. The noise of the engine precludes our use of hydrophones. Because we can’t hear their vocal commentary, we study at a sort of philosophical distance. Studying dolphin behavior is like studying human behavior through a sound-proof window. You know they’re talking but you can’t hear what they say. They leave the window; you can only wait for them to come back into view.

They do things you never see. There is much to infer, but marine mammalogists who study behavior quickly learn to avoid over-interpretation. Yet, you develop knowledge of their patterns and emotions like mother or dad interpreting their little baby who doesn’t yet talk. Experience helps you fill in the blanks.As Twin Dip circled us today, I remembered other circling dolphins. Only a small fraction of dolphins behave this way.

They are typically large animals in the company of mother-calf pairs. Although it is possible that they are ‘protecting’ the mother-calf pairs or threatening us away from their ‘quarry,’ the behavior may serve a very different purpose. When a dolphin circles us, it is usually the first time it has been so close to our boat. Since the difference between casual and scientific observation is data, I consulted my database when I got home.

Sure enough, we have only one picture of Twin Dip – taken July 31, 2004 – swimming a considerable distance from us. We saw it this past April, again at a considerable distance. Today was the first time it came near us.The other dolphins with Twin Dip are familiar with us. Indeed, they literally brought their socializing to us. Perhaps this put Twin Dip into a quandary. To stay with its companions, it had to swim near our boat.

No one can say whether they gave Twin Dip the courage to explore us carefully. But its many passes were not rushed like a calf flinging itself nervously at our boat and rushing back to its mother. Its passes were slow, direct, purposeful and repeated.It appeared to be studying us. You’ve got to wonder.

Pod of dolphins getting closer to entrance of river

Conservation staff say the pod of dolphins that has taken up residence in a Far North river is venturing a little closer to the river mouth.

Six bottlenose dolphins swam up the Oruaiti River on Wednesday.

One of them stranded on the bank yesterday, and died.

A DoC spokesperson says they may have swum up the river to hide from Orca whales in the Mangonui harbour.

Carolyn Smith says staff have been monitoring the dolphins' for signs of distress that could lead to more strandings.

But their behaviour appears normal and they are now heading a little closer to the river mouth.

First Malaysian dolphin watching tour

Sarawak has emerged as the first destination in Malaysia that offers dolphin-watching tours, focusing on the Irrawaddy dolphins frequently sighted in the Santubong and Salak river estuaries near here.According to the Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) newsletter "Hornbill Trail", the state was one of the best places in Southeast Asia to watch these dolphins native to tropical and sub-tropical waters."During the dry season from March to October, Irrawaddy dolphins are frequently sighted in the Santubong and Salak river estuaries just 45 minutes from the State capital of Kuching," the newsletter said in its latest publication.

They usually swim in small groups of two to six but larger groups of up to 15 had been spotted at the Salak estuary.Though Sarawak was the marine tourism pioneer, being the first to launch commercial dolphin-watching tours in 1998, with its extensive network of national parks, Sarawak is fast gaining reputation as one of the country's premier eco-tourism destinations on land.Apart from dolphin-watching, other activities include mangrove cruises that offer tourists the chance to see proboscis monkeys and crocodiles as well as a tour to the new Kuching Wetlands National Park, Sarawak's first Ramsar Site.

Dolphin put to sleep after being trapped

British Divers Marine Life Rescue went to Arnside, near Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, on Friday night after sightings of the bottlenose dolphin.

The animal was seen in a channel and it was hoped it would be able to get out as the tide came in.
But on Saturday evening when it became clear the dolphin could not support itself, it was put to sleep.

Jenny Watkins, Cumbria regional co-ordinator for British Divers Marine Life Rescue, said: "We gave it a chance and it looked fine when it was in a sheltered pool.

"But once it was clear it was suffering we had to get a vet to assess it."

She said the dolphin was old and may have come into shallower waters because it was in distress.
The group was involved in the rescue of Marra the dolphin from Maryport Harbour in February.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A pod of dolphins swims up NZ River

A group of bottlenose dolphins left the open sea and swam up a New Zealand river, apparently to escape killer whales, a conservation official said Friday.

One of the dolphins got stranded and died on Thursday, so conservation staff are monitoring the remaining dolphins to ensure no more become trapped, said Department of Conservation spokeswoman Carolyn Smith.

"We're ... keeping an eye on them," Smith said. "The tide is high, so hopefully they will make their own way back out to sea."

The dolphins swam up the Oruaiti River from Mangonui Harbor on the east coast of North Island on Wednesday, she said.

Killer whales have been spotted recently in Mangonui Harbor and conservation department staff suspect the dolphins headed up river for safety, Smith said. Killer whales, also known as orca, hunt and eat dolphins.

The dolphins were "swimming around and they seem to be OK," she said.

Conservation staff unsuccessfully attempted Thursday to herd the dolphins out of Oruaiti River and into Mangonui Harbor, she said.

A careful count of dorsal fins by conservation staff Friday revealed there were five still surviving in the river.

New Zealand dolphin researcher Kristy Russell has advised conservation staff the dolphins are not in immediate danger of stranding and that a "wait and see" approach is best.

"Too much interference could put them under stress, which could then put them at risk of stranding," Russell said.

Italian virus may be responsible for dolphins deaths

Italian dolphin virus fears.

Ten young dolphins have been found washed up on the shores of the Gulf of Venice over the last ten days between Basso Veneto and the Marche, prompting fears of a lethal virus. Experts are particularly concerned because the youthful age of the dolphins makes a natural cause for the deaths less likely.

The dolphins were washed up on the beaches already in an advanced state of decomposition. Experts are making use of a helicopter provided by the forestry authority to try to find a dolphin that has recently died in order to carry out tests. A virus that struck the dolphin population in 1991 resulted in over 500 specimens being washed up on the beaches of the Mediterranean.

Dolphin freed from rope

A rescue operation has freed a port river dolphin caught up in three metres of rope in South Australia.

The 10-year-old dolphin has a deep scar in its tail fin and keeps getting entangled.

It is the fourth time it has been rescued and surgery is now being considered to remove the groove in its tail.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society spokesman Dr Mike Bossley says the dolphin was found with the rope on Sunday.

"The longer it was left there, the deeper it would cut into the tail and possibly eventually even sever the tail, and that would have killed the dolphin," he said.

"Probably alternatively, if the rope had become entangled in something else - caught around a pylon or something - and the dolphin couldn't come up for air, it would have died."

Birth of new calf

We saw summer’s first wiggly newborn dolphin Friday before the busy 4th of July weekend. Baby’s sudden surfaces and mother’s protective hovering made it hard to see.We guessed it was one to two weeks old. Mother, a dolphin named Chunk, kept the baby at a distance from us. We didn’t press it. We trailed them in the gentle dawn light. My assistant Marie was entranced. From Sweden, she’d understandably never seen a newborn bottlenose dolphin at sea.

She was surprised it had much to learn. Chunk was very maternal. She swam slowly. She kept the baby in shallow waters of 2 to 4 feet. She stayed very close to it. She often rolled on her side to help her baby nurse. Nursing is particularly challenging for the marine mammals who never leave the water. They need a system that keeps the new baby from sucking salt water along with milk. What’s more, they must manage this in a sleek streamlined body shaped like a cigar.Dolphins have two nipples tucked inside a little pocket on their bellies where the hips used to be.

This pocket is one reason why cetaceans (dolphins, their close porpoise cousins and distant whale cousins) are streamlined. Nipples stay in the pocket until nursing time. If the mother stops and rolls on her side, it is easier for tiny newborn dolphins to find the nipple and nurse.Nursing is also challenging because cetacean infants don’t have the right lips. Loose flexible lips are handy for nursing. They close tightly around the nipple. They create suction and keep out air. What human parent hasn’t burped their baby? Human plastic baby bottles are poor substitutes for nature’s design. How do baby dolphins avoid salt water without the right lips?

Nature is delightfully symmetrical. All natural actions, like lacking lips, have symmetrical reactions, like mothers who can shoot a stream of milk like whipped cream from an aerosol can. Not many mothers can do it. Newborn dolphins must learn to swallow shots of thick milk like gulping a delicious mouthful of warm milkshake. At first, mother lays quietly. Later, she will no longer stop. The baby will have to nurse while mother swims. Talk about talent. It’s a ballet that takes time to learn.The delicate drama of feeding baby wasn’t only about dolphins today.

Drifting near a channel marker, we heard garbled cries like baby dinosaurs from a mass of sticks on a channel marker. An adult great blue heron landed on its nest. It glared at us, erecting its cap of black feathers in irritation. Two tiny heads stretched up from the nest. We were too close and quickly backed away.The garbled calls were the heron nestlings crying for breakfast. Their black head feathers were comically awry, like human hair after a restless night.

The adult leaned down and fed its nestlings.A parent feeding its baby is behavior we take for granted. But it’s a biological miracle. Herons are territorial, absolutely intolerant of other herons. What miraculous mix of hormones creates a parent out of a suspicious and serious contender?Between shots of milk, the tiny chocolate brown calf wiggled and splashed at the surface. It’s strange to think that dolphins must learn to swim but, after all, humans must learn to walk. Both take lots of practice. Try learning the human swim stroke of dolphining.

The legs (tail) goes this way, the head goes that way. Periodically, the tiny calf shot a few feet across the water surface as if it suddenly got the idea of how its peduncle worked. But like a person’s first time on a jet ski or snow mobile, these were leaping moments of uncontrolled acceleration.

As her newborn worked on its squirming swims, Chunk carefully roamed the warm shallow waters around the islands inside of John’s Pass. We wish them the very best of luck. We gratefully thank the generous citizens of Gulf Boulevard for providing safe and essential nursery grounds for our newest maritime citizens, dolphin and bird alike. How rich our lives are because of them.

Dolphins stranded in river

Department of Conservation (DOC) staff have been trying to herd the bottlenose dolphins out of the Oruaiti River in the Far North and back out to sea in the Mangonui Harbour.

The dolphins were not initially believed to be in distress after swimming into the river on Wednesday but one stranded yesterday morning and died, prompting DOC to take action.
"So far, three attempts to herd the pod back out to sea have been unsuccessful, as the dolphins are refusing to go beyond the point where the dolphin stranded and died," a DOC statement said.
DOC biodiversity manager for Kaitaia Patrick Whaley said they would continue trying to herd the dolphins back into the harbour.

"We will keep working while there is still light to try and move them out to sea.

"The dolphins are well able to swim up the river, even on low tide, as the water is quite deep, so we hope that even if we are unsuccessful, they will head out of the river by themselves."

Killer whales had been reported in Mangonui Harbour and DOC staff suspected the dolphins had headed up river for safety.

Expert submits plan to protect dolphins

As lifeguards look out for swimmers, volunteers look out for dolphins. "We keep track of all the dolphins that swim past us, you can see here, we're at 67th Street," said Ocean health expert Jose Barrios.National aquatics experts counted every dolphin they could see in Ocean City Wednesday."We submit this data to the agencies that create new regulations so they can work in better management for the species," he said.

Barrios says years ago, pollution killed half the bottlenose dolphin population in the Atlantic. He hopes by counting dolphins now, he can get an important message across to sunbathers."Any action we're doing here on the land will end up affecting the marine environment," he said. "When you release a balloon into the air 10 miles away, it can end up in the stomachs of dolphins that we found."Barrios hopes spreading his message helps save future dolphins.

The National Aquarium in Baltimore counted 66 dolphins Wednesday. Last year, 159 dolphins were counted. Experts say it's not something they're particurlarly concerned about. Wednesday's study is combined with years of research.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dolphin trainer for a day, a child's dream come true!

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has launched a Dolphin Trainer for a Day program. Participants work with animal experts and a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins while learning about dolphin health and behavior.

Four people are permitted in the program each day.The price of $500 includes a private lunch, an 8-by-10-inch photo, admission to Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, and the choice of a Trainer for a Day T-shirt, beach towel, hat or bag. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance. Call 702-792-7889.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Plan to save the rare Yangtze River dolphin

Conservationists have developed a plan to save one of the world's most endangered species, the Yangtze River dolphin.

The dolphin, which is found only in the Yangtze River in China, has been driven to the brink of extinction by pollution and over-fishing.

It is thought there are fewer than 50 of the dolphins left.

The conservationists hope to take some dolphins from the Yangtze and establish a breeding program in a nearby lake where they can be protected.

Firefighters try to guide dolphin out of river

A Captain with the New Brunswick Fire Dept. said they had their boats in the water and they were attempting to coax the Dolphin to swim in the opposite direction, but the Dolphin kept swimming up river. They had to call off their efforts because thunderstorms were moving into the area.

Officials lost site of the Dolphin and they are fearful the animal will become stranded in shallow water when low tide arrives. If anyone spots the Dolphin, they should call 9-1-1. New Brunswick is about 12 miles up river from the inlet in Perth Amboy. As far as the Captain knows, no one can recall a Dolphin making it this far up river.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"