Thursday, May 31, 2007

Entangled dolphin was freed at last

Crews from the U.S. Coast Guard, the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Unit's Bivalve Substation and the Marine Mammal Stranding Center on May 26 freed a bottlenose dolphin from entanglement in the line of a crab pot this afternoon in the Delaware Bay.

After they were notified at about 11 a.m. that the dolphin, described by those on scene as being about 10 feet long and weighing upwards of 600 pounds, was entangled in the line, boat crews were launched aboard a Coast Guard Station Townsend Inlet rescue boat and two state police boats.

One of the state police boats also carried Jay Pagel, senior field technician from Brigantine Marine Mammal Stranding Center. Once crews were able to get a hold of the dolphin, and they had the animal alongside one of the state police boats, Pagel cut away the line to free the animal and it swam away.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Experts confirms that dolphins have their own language!

Scientists have discovered that dolphins have accents. They have confirmed that dolphins living off the coast of Wales whistle, bark and groan in a different dialect from dolphins off the western coast of Ireland.

A Masters student at the University of Wales analysed 1882 whistles from the dolphins in the Shannon estuary and bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay in Wales. The study found 32 different sound categories, of which eight were only produced by the Shannon animals.

Vancouver Aquarium's dolphin miscarries for the second time!

For the second time in two years, Hana the dolphin has miscarried her calf. Staff at the Vancouver Aquarium are shaken by the sudden turn of events. Vets at the facility noticed something was wrong when fetal membranes were seen in the water. Hana the dolphin, who was supposed to give birth this summer then miscarried soon after, passing the fetus that vets said had been dead for almost three days.

The sad confirmation was hard to take for Martin Hilena, a vet at the Aquarium. He said everyone is very upset and they had all been very hopeful this second time would be successful for her. Hana and Helen are Pacific White-sided dolphins and both came over from Japan in 2005. The news that there won't be an addition to the Vancouver Aquarium has been hard for everyone who spends time there to accept.

Greenpeace campaigners use whale and dolphin carcasses to make their point!

Greenpeace campaigners have staged a dramatic protest in Germany laying the carcasses of 17 dead whales and dolphins at the landmark Brandenburg Gate.

The demonstration is aimed at persuading countries to resist increasing pressure for a resumption of commercial whaling.

Next week, the International Whaling Commission holds a meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, where Japan will be pushing for the moratorium on commercial whaling to be overturned.

Germany holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, which supports the IWC moratorium.

Dolphin Therapy, a dream come true for special needs twins!

A family from Evansville is set to fulfill one of their biggest dreams thanks to the Wish Upon a Star Program.

The Adler family's twin sons got their wish to swim with the dolphins in Key Largo, Florida as part of a therapy program. Adam and Aaron are 18 years old and have battled disabilities their entire lives.

The Adlers say the boys have been their greatest challenge and blessing and realize they are about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

Beverly Adler, mother of the twins, says, "We first heard about the dolphin therapy program about 13 years ago and never dreamed that we'd get to go, so this is an absolute dream come true. The boys love the water; they love animals, and they say that the dolphins have a special connection with special needs children."

The family will return home from Florida next Saturday.

Common dolphin is free following rescue!

A young Common Dolphin that washed up exhausted at Glencairn beach later took off "like a bullet" from a NSRI boat off Simon's Town harbour at the end of a successful joint rescue mission.
The dolphin, believed to be a young adult and measuring 1.9 metres washed ashore at the beach early yesterday afternoon.

Staff of the Table Mountain National Park's marine unit patrolling in the area saw people looking at the dolphin and two of their colleagues, Riaan Boshoff and Dimitri Beukes, donned wetsuits and responded.

Their first attempt to get the dolphin back into the sea was unsuccessful.

By then UCT scientists living in Glencairn had seen the incident from their home above the beach and alerted a research colleague, marine biologist and whale and dolphin expert Ken Findlay, who lives further up the valley.

He also rushed to the beach in his wetsuit, and the three men guided the dolphin, which was bleeding lightly, back into the sea.

But the big waves and rough sea pushed it back among the rocks, so it was carried to the nearby tidal pool where it swam for about 45 minutes regaining its strength.

Meanwhile, the NSRI's Station 10 at Simon's Town was alerted.

Two NSRI crew from Kommetjie who happened to be visiting, Ian Klopper and Peter Veldhuizen, went to help transport the dolphin from the pool to the harbour while the Simon's Town station's 5.5m surf rescue boat Eddie Boumont was prepared.

The animal was then taken out beyond the harbour wall in the boat and released in deep water. Boshoff said the dolphin had seemed "much happier" in the deep water.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Indian River Bottlenose dolphins are plagued by sickness

A cigarette butt bounces to the roadway of a bridge over the Indian River Lagoon.Brake dust coats the nicotine-laced piece of trash as vehicles rumble past.

A rain shower washes the noxious throwaway into the watery home of the lagoon's beloved residents -- bottlenose dolphins.The dolphins of the Indian River Lagoon are sick and getting sicker, and not just from such human destruction, but also from a plethora of emerging diseases that have yet to be explained.Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution has released new data from its lagoon study of dolphin health that shows the percentage of sick animals examined by researchers increased 75 percent from 2003 to 2005.

The numbers could have profound meaning for the health of the lagoon itself, the regional economy and even public well being."We better start to pay attention to this because the same pressures that are causing (dolphin) health issues and seals migrating from the arctic to Florida are the same issues that are eventually going to impact us," said study leader Dr. Gregory Bossart, Harbor Branch's senior scientist and marine mammal veterinarian. "So it's in our best interest to understand it."


Dolphins are barometers of the health of the lagoon Florida residents hold so dear.A sick dolphin means a sick lagoon."The Indian River Lagoon is a huge economic engine that drives the economy of 40 percent of Florida's East Coast," said Steve McCulloch, Harbor Branch's marine mammal stranding program manager. "Eventually the economy will be affected. Think about it. If the water here is unsafe for dolphins, boating, fishing, recreational fishing ... property values all start diminishing.

"And there is a connection between the health of the marine darlings and their human admirers.There have been no recorded cases of humans getting sick from dolphins along the Indian River. But an increase in dolphin disease could be an ominous sign of future health issues in people."The same factors that are allowing these diseases to emerge," Bossart said, "are the same factors that are allowing perhaps our health to be compromised as well. So it's a very complex issue."


That is just one of the questions the dozens of scientists, biologists, experts and students hope the study data will reveal in the coming months and years.Some answers are clear: humans pollute the water.McCulloch said he has found nicotine, brake dust and flame retardant chemicals in dolphins he has examined.Someone who threw away a rubber ring almost caused the death of a young dolphin, had it not been rescued by a Harbor Branch team Thursday.

And there is no question chemicals run off of green residential lawns and the by-products of agriculture and rapid development are finding their way into the water, McCulloch said.But there's a lot about why the dolphins are getting sicker that's just not yet explained.

Bossart believes in a phenomenon called "environmental distress syndrome."He theorizes ecological and climatic factors "are actually encouraging the selection of new pathogens. So new pathogens are occurring."


The lagoon study is an example of the distress syndrome, Bossart said.Two emerging diseases, a chronic fungal skin disease of "epidemic" proportions and oral and genital tumors, are most concerning for researchers.When the study started in 2003, no lagoon dolphins examined by researchers had tumors. In 2004, 11 percent had tumors. In 2005, 47 percent had tumors."One of the top theories is ... these new emerging diseases are actually evolving, related to global climate change," Bossart said.

"So what's happening on this planet is actually encouraging new pathogens to emerge."Bossart and his team firmly agree there is climate change."You have to be in denial to say there is no climate change occurring on this planet," he said. "... But the cause of it is probably still debatable, whether or not it's global warming due to greenhouse gasses or a natural state in this plant's climate history or a combination of both or other things."


Researchers and dozens of collaborators plan to continue their work for another five years after the current study permit ends in January 2008, researchers said.The study, including all the testing and analysis, costs $300,000-a-year and is funded by the sale of specialty marine license plates, McCulloch said.For the longtime marine mammal expert, that's not a lot compared to the possible accomplishments."It's a legacy we pass on to our children," he said.

"Hopefully, through our efforts, we'll leave them some dolphins and clean water and everything else that swims in it."


• Harbor Branch researchers began finding sick dolphins in 2003, while working on a photo-identification study of the animals in the Indian River Lagoon.

• More than 30 percent of the 500 dolphins studied at the time had skin disorders and tumors in the lagoon waterways that cover 168 miles from Cape Canaveral to Jupiter.

• The Harbor Branch team obtained a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service to begin a five-year study to find out more.

• The main goal was "to identify serious health threats to the animals, such as pollutants, so that effective management plans can be designed."

• Researchers picked two locations -- the lagoon and Charleston, S.C. -- to compare "two distinct populations influenced by very different environmental conditions." That should allow researchers to "zero in on the factors posing the greatest health risks."

• More about the study and how to buy the specialized license plates that fund the work is available at: www.hboi.eduSource: Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution


• One hundred ninety dolphins were analyzed. Each dolphin was classified as normal, possibly diseased or definitely diseased.

• Researchers found 87, or 45.8 percent, of the dolphins were normal, 52, or 27.4 percent, were possibly diseased and 51, or 26.8 percent, were diseased.

• The prevalence of definite and possible disease was compared among dolphins from Charleston and the Indian River Lagoon. The prevalence of definitely diseased dolphins was higher among dolphins captured in the Indian River Lagoon, 32.3 percent, than among dolphins captured in the waters around Charleston, 20.9 percent.


• Researches found several sicknesses in the dolphins: hepatitis, meningitis, pneumonia, and central nervous systems disorders, among others.

• The teams also found antibiotic resistant bacteria.

• New diseases are emerging at a worrisome rate.

• Sexually transmitted diseases are infecting the dolphin population.

• The illnesses could endanger the dolphins' lives.


• Two emerging diseases were noted: lobomycosis, a skin disease and, orogenital neoplasia, oral and genital tumors.

• The diseases accounted for 31 of the 51 definite disease diagnoses, or 60.8 percent. Eleven of 32 diseased lagoon dolphins had lobomycosis, which occurs in epidemic proportions in the southern lagoon. Lobomycosis was not identified at the Charleston site or in the northern Indian River Lagoon.

• Oral and genital neoplasms occurred in male and female dolphins at both capture sites. The disease was not detected in any of the 2003 captures but was found in 2004 and 2005 at both sites. Thirteen lagoon dolphins and seven Charleston dolphins had evidence of oral or genital tumors.

• For both capture sites, an increase in prevalence of definite disease was observed between 2003 and 2005.


• Dolphins are captured in nets and lifted onto specially designed research ships.

• The exams take less than an hour.

• Scientists document various vital information such as size, weight and age.

• They collect tissue samples, feces, urine, blood and blubber.

• Each animal is tagged for tracking on its dorsal fin.

Experts warn UK to protect their dolphins from extinction!

Marine experts yesterday warned that dolphins could disappear from part of the UK's coastline unless action is taken to protect them from commercial fishing.

More than a dozen species of dolphin, whale and porpoise are regularly seen off the coasts of Dorset, Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly particularly between June and August.
But a report analysing 14 years of cetacean records from the south west of England shows an alarming decline in the sighting of some species - particularly bottlenose dolphins.

It also shows an increase in the number of dead dolphins washed up on beaches.

The problem was highlighted when numerous dolphin carcasses were found along the south west coastline after the container ship MSC Napoli was grounded a mile off Sidmouth in Devon on January 20.

The joint report by Marine Connection and The Wildlife Trusts highlights the 14 species of whale, dolphin and porpoise which are regularly spotted off the south west, dubbed England's "Dolphin Coast".

Lissa Goodwin, fisheries and policy officer for Marine Connection, said: "Entanglement in fishing gear is the number one cause of death in stranded dolphins, particularly common dolphins and harbour porpoises.

"If we want to reduce human impacts on dolphins and protect the region's dolphins then we need to take urgent action."

The report shows that, overall, more cetaceans are reported now than in 1990.

But this may be because more people are aware of the importance of reporting sightings rather than an indicator of an increase in numbers.

Sightings of bottlenose dolphin have decreased since 1990 and many scientists and researchers believe the south west population is in decline.

Experts believe the number of dead dolphins and porpoises found on the south west's beaches is less than 1% of the total biocatch - dolphins caught in fishing nets.

Dr Goodwin said: "What we are seeing now really are the last dolphins to frequent our shores.
"Certainly with bottlenose dolphins I think we could be seeing the last of them in the south west.
"Of all marine life species, dolphins are the one species judged to be charismatic and many people take them to their heart."

She added: "It's difficult to set any specific timeline but it is really quite worrying."

The South West Dolphin Report, which Dr Goodwin said has "nationwide implications", is being launched at a presentation evening hosted by Marine Connection and The Wildlife Trusts tonight at the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club, in Plymouth.

It recommends a number of urgent actions to save the dolphins including the use of acoustic alarms on fishing nets, known as pingers, that emit warning sounds every few seconds to alert nearby animals to the presence of bottom-set gill and tangle-nets.

It also calls for research into why dolphins and porpoises get caught in fishing nets and for a scheme to allow necropsies to determine the cause of death of those washed ashore.

A report on the distribution and type of fishing around south west shores is needed.

More power should also be granted to inshore fishery management bodies enabling them to close fisheries known to catch dolphins and other creatures until a suitable device or measure has been identified.

Sighting of dolphins in English channel, an endangered specie in Europe!

The dolphins, which are threatened in UK waters, were recorded 4 miles off of St. Catherine’s point on the Isle of Wight – a truly rare occurrence.

Clive Martin said: “In over 10 years of research in the English Channel, Marinelife have never before recorded Bottlenose Dolphin in this location or in such large numbers in the central part of the Channel – it represents a significant sighting and together with other recent sighting, may indicate that the central part of the Channel is again becoming part of the territory for a range of dolphins.”

The English Channel is generally thought of as an area of coastline which is under populated or depleted of whales and dolphins, but whilst sighting tend to be sporadic, they are being recorded.
A small population of Bottlenose Dolphin are known to spend time within the Western portion of the English Channel and they are regularly sighting during Marinelife research trips from Plymouth to Roscoff aboard Brittany Ferries and by the Durlston Marine Project around Swanage.

However, sighting of Bottlenose Dolphin in the central and eastern parts of the Channel are more unusual, but individuals are occasionally seen – these are thought to be adolescent males, which are known to roam over considerable distances and may spend considerable time in busy areas of coast or harbours, attracting much attention from people. An example was “Spinnaker”, the Bottlenose Dolphin which spent some time in Portsmouth harbour, before being accidentally killed in a tragic accident with a boat’s propeller.

Other recent sightings in the Channel include Common Dolphin, again seen off of the Isle of Wight and a young animal rescued by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) in Eastbourne harbour. Risso’s Dolphin have been recorded at Torpoint in Devon, regular sightings of Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin have been made by Marinelife in the western portion of the Channel and Pilot Whale have been seen near Portland in Dorset recently.

Marinelife’s research will continue to monitor for these and other whales and dolphins in the Channel and beyond and this will help build greater understanding of their movements, distribution, abundance and threats.

Background Information

The Bottlenose Dolphin is one of the most threatened cetacean species in Europe, and consequently has extensive legislative protection at a European level. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES, Appendix II of the Bern Convention and Annexes II and IV of the EC Habitats Directive. It is also on Appendix 2 of the Bonn Convention and is covered by ASCOBANS. CITES is the Convention International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Baby dolphin found stuck in trash!

A dolphin calf was rescued Thursday in Indian River County after becoming entangled in packing material.

The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution marine mammal rescue team said they located the dolphin in the St. Sebastian River Thursday.

Rescuers said they took 20 minutes to remove a large rubber packaging band that had become tangled around the young male calf's head.

Harbor Branch officials said the calf and his mother were travelling with a pod of other dolphins in the area. The baby was released to his mother after rescuers removed the band.
Harbor Branch officials said the calf has a 90 percent chance of a full recovery.

Rescued Risso dolphin lost her calf!

Veterinarians and volunteers remain concerned for the health of a dolphin mother saved near Bonita Beach.

The Risso's dolphin, who was nicknamed Wilma, lost her calf Saturday night after the pair was brought to Mote Marine Laboratory Saturday. The mother continues to need assistance swimming.
Wilma and another Risso's dolphin mother-calf pair, who are doing better physically, were treated with antibiotics for infections and given fluids so they would begin eating on their own.
The mother, nicknamed Betty, and calf, Big Al, are actively swimming and nursing, a Mote spokeswoman reports.

Mote, in Sarasota County, operates a dolphin and whale hospital.

"Mote staff and volunteers continue to monitor the dolphins around the clock," said Jamie Tacy.
Risso's dolphins are rarely seen inshore and normally inhabit deep temperate waters worldwide. This species of dolphins, Grampus griseus, is one of the larger species and are compared in size to pilot whales. In the Gulf of Mexico, they are see along the Continental Shelf and Continental Slope.

Dolphin training program will soon be available at TSA

Anyone who has ever dreamt of becoming a dolphin trainer will soon get a chance to fulfill that dream. The Texas State Aquarium has a new educational program that allows the public get up close and personal with dolphins.

The deck side dolphin encounter allows you to feed, play with and touch the dolphins. It's billed by the Aquarium as a great family experience but it also has educational value.

"Basically you learn a little bit about dolphin anatomy, how we train, why we train and we also have a conservation message," Martha Hill of TSA said.

That message is "Enjoy the dolphins, but remember they are wild animals."

"If you go out and interact with wild dolphins, it can disrupt their social order, and it can be detrimental to their health basically," Hill said.

But interacting with the dolphins at the Aquarium is okay. In fact, dolphin encounters encourages it. Aquarium officials said the best way for the public to learn about dolphins is to interact with them.
"A lot of people really have enjoyed it," Hill said. "We had some people that were a little skeptical at first. They thought, 'Well I don't know if this is really something that I want to do,' and they totally changed their mind by the end of the program."

The program costs $75 per person for a one-day session. Participants must be at least 8 years old to participate. For more information about the Aquarium's "Deck-side Dolphin Encounter," call 881-1307.

Cause of death is still a mystery for dolphins

Scientists have no idea what killed two maui's dolphins found near the south head of Manukau Harbour.

The dolphins were discovered in December and have been on ice at Massey University for the past few months awaiting examination.

An autopsy has been done but researchers are none the wiser.

A number of dolphins have died after being caught in set-nets over the years. Others have fallen victim to the lethal bacterial agent brucella. Both possibilities have been ruled out in the latest case.

The maui's dolphin is only found in New Zealand and there are about 100 in existence.
Set-netting is now banned around the Manukau Harbour mouth and along the west coast in an effort to protect the endangered species.

Scientists are also trying to find out more about brucella after finding traces of it in other dead dolphins.

"We do know that it causes abortions and reproductive failure in livestock and there is some evidence from international examples that this may be the case for dolphins," Department of Conservation spokeswoman Nicola Vallance says.

"It has been diagnosed in a variety of whale, dolphin and seal populations worldwide, but our understanding of the disease in these species is still very limited," she says.
Report dead dolphins to department staff, phone: 0800-362-468.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

New Zealand Hector's dolphins may face extinction soon!

If this many great spotted kiwi were being slaughtered by hunters, there would – quite rightly – be a public outcry.

But when it comes to protecting those species that live in New Zealand's waters, rather than its forests, it seems we can turn a blind eye to the needless killing of an endangered, endemic animal. Out of sight beneath the ocean waves, it seems, is out of mind.

So it is that the world's rarest marine dolphin, the Hector's dolphin, found only in New Zealand, continues to be killed with depressing regularity in set nets.

Once common in New Zealand waters, Hector's dolphins now number little over 7,000 and are listed as endangered by the World Conservation on the Red List of Species Threatened with Extinction.
The plight of the North Island sub-species of Hector's dolphin, the Maui's dolphin, is even more serious: with an estimated 111 individuals left, it is critically endangered.

An endangered Hector's dolphin jumps in New Zealand coastal waters.
Imagine then, if a method of hunting on land was killing significant numbers of great spotted kiwi, numbering more than 10,000, or the kakapo, which numbers 86. Under such a scenario New Zealanders would demand that hunters change their methods to protect our rare and precious native species. Surely we should make the same demands when it comes to protecting our endangered and endemic Hector's dolphin.

Set nets are a type of gill net widely used in New Zealand waters by recreational and commercial fishers – they catch and kill nearly everything that swims into them.

The figures show that set nets are by far the biggest threat to Hector's dolphins - they are responsible for more than 70 percent of deaths where the cause of death is known. Once entangled in the nets, a Hector's dolphin has little chance of survival. Submerged, its small lungs - about the size of human lungs - fill with water and it drowns.

Other human-induced threats to Hector's dolphins, such as trawling, cray pots and boat strikes, each account for no more than 10 percent of known deaths – clearly set nets are the big killer.
Given that many entanglements of dolphins in set nets go unreported, the actual number killed by set nets may be much higher than the official figures.

And Hector's dolphins are not the only victims of set nets – other species of dolphin, penguins, seabirds, turtles, orca and seals are also killed.

The impact of set nets on the long-term survival of the Hector's and Maui's dolphin is of serious concern. Because – much like the kakapo – the dolphins breed slowly, the threat to their survival as a species is greater.

Female dolphins give birth once every two to four years and don't begin breeding until they are seven to nine years old, leaving the population highly vulnerable to human-induced deaths because overall numbers cannot quickly recover.

The population decline of Hector's dolphin in recent decades has been frightening. They numbered about 26,000 in the 1970s, when set net use began, but plummeted by nearly 20,000 in the last few decades. The Maui's sub-species in particular hovers on the brink of extinction.

Deaths of Hector's dolphins in set nets are totally avoidable – virtually every fish species sought commercially or valued by amateur fishermen can be caught by alternative methods, such as line fishing or drag netting. In many countries and states, including many states of the USA, the UK and Australia, set nets are banned or tightly controlled.

A pair of Hector's dolpins swims off the New Zealand coast.
In New Zealand's South Island, Hector's dolphins are protected from set nets only around Banks Peninsula, and there are controls on set net use from the Waitaki to the Waiau River mouths. Interim measures announced late last year also require amateur fishermen to stay with their nets in some areas off the South Island.
The Maui's dolphin is protected by a set net ban off the northwest coast of the North Island.

However, while these measures have shown that banning set nets can dramatically reduce deaths, they do not go far enough to ensure the dolphins' survival. The lack of consistency across different areas and sectors means dolphins continue to be killed, even in areas where restrictions are in place.
The largest population of Hector's dolphin, estimated at 5,400, is found off the South Island West Coast and remains unprotected from set nets. The interim measures in the South Island do not protect dolphins from commercial fishing nets – which account for far more deaths than recreational fishing.

The North Island set net ban to protect Maui's dolphins does not extend into the inner harbors, though the dolphins favor shallow water and Maui's dolphins have been sighted in three out of five of these harbors, where they remain at risk from set nets.

The only viable solution to realistically protect these vulnerable marine creatures is a national ban on set nets.

If we really care about protecting New Zealand's unique wildlife, we must be as vigilant at sea as we are on land. If we do not take action on set nets to provide the equivalent level of protection to our Hector's and Maui's dolphin as we do to our kiwi and our kakapo, we could become the first country to knowingly push a species of dolphin into extinction.

Aquarium under investigation following two dolphins' deaths

Two recent dolphin deaths at an aquarium have officials looking for answers.Daphne, a female pantropical spotted dolphin, died at Florida’s Gulfarium on April 22. Buster, an Atlantic spotted dolphin, died two days later.“As of right now, we have no reason to think the two are related at all,” Don Abrams, the Gulfarium’s general manager, told the Northwest Florida Daily News.

Tissue samples from both animals are being analyzed, and staff have stopped feeding the animals the type of fish that both animals were eating until testing can be completed.Veterinarian Forrest Townsend said Daphne died of liver disease and related neurological complications. He said Buster likely died of a severe inflammation of the stomach and abdomen.

Daphne came to the Gulfarium after she was stranded about eight years ago. She was rescued near Port St. Joe by a group of Girl Scouts.Buster came to the Gulfarium after he was stranded near Clearwater Beach 18 months ago.

The Seaquarium welcomes its tenants!

It’s moving day at the Miami Seaquarium. Two Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins have become the first to swim in their new digs, ‘Dolphin Harbor’.“Bimini” and “Abaco” were transferred from their current home at Flipper Lagoon to their new 700,000 gallon playing area.‘Dolphin Harbor’ opens this June. It’s a $5 million dollar lagoon where as many as 250 people a day can swim with the dolphins.

The new offering is part of the Seaquarium’s long term plan to shift its focus away from the animal shows and allow a more interactive experience for visitors.Dolphin Harbor will house eight Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, education classrooms and an 8,000 square foot meeting facility surrounding the dolphin pool.Dolphin Harbor will be home to the park's expanded Swim with our Dolphins Program. The program will feature an up-close and personal dolphin interaction experience that includes an intimate interaction with a dolphin, an educational segment in a classroom environment and one day's admission to the park.

Currently, the park's guests can swim with the dolphins in the “Flipper Lagoon” in between shows. A 30 minute session costs $189. Park officials advise visitors to register in advance for this program because its weekly 250 swim slots are often sold out.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"