Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dolphin calf rescued in lagoon!

Scientists, veterinarians and research staff at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University in Fort Pierce rescued an entangled dolphin calf in the Indian River Lagoon near Melbourne on Thursday, officials said.

FAU Harbor Branch researchers first observed the calf on June 6, noticing that it had an automotive belt around its neck. Researchers made efforts to coordinate the rescue.The calf and its mother were isolated from other dolphins in the area and a net was set in shallow water so that they could be safely managed, treated and released by FAU Harbor Branch veterinarian Dr. Juli Goldstein.

The rescue effort involved six boats and 30 people.FAU Harbor Branch researchers rescued, treated an released a young dolphins back to its mother in May 2007.

New dolphin specie has been discovered in Australia!

A dolphin species has been found in Tasmanian waters for the first time.

Four striped dolphins, normally found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, became stranded recently at White Beach on the Tasman Peninsula.

Local people and marine conservation officers were able shepherd them back out to sea.
Photos taken by locals later sent to the department confirmed that the dolphins' identity.
Marine Conservation Officer Isabel Beasley says the striped dolphin is visually spectacular, with dark black bands extending from the eye to the tail, and the eye to the flipper.

Dr Beasley says they probably came this far south because of warm ocean currents.

"They might have come down in a warm water current, perhaps, so they probably travel reasonably large distances but they probably wouldn't travel between ocean basins," Dr Beasley said.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Navy technology responsible for beached dolphins' death

A Navy helicopter was using controversial sonar equipment off the Cornish coast days before 26 dolphins died in a mass stranding.

Officials at the Ministry of Defence admitted last night that the sonar "dipper", designed to hunt submarines, had been used by a Merlin helicopter on training exercise.

The mass dolphin stranding was the biggest in Britain for 30 years.

Four days later, the dolphins beached in the shallow Fal and Percuil rivers 60 miles away near Falmouth. The mass stranding last Monday was the biggest in Britain for 30 years. Conservation groups want a full investigation. Marine wildlife and underwater acoustics experts said loud pulses from the sonar may have scared or confused the common dolphins into Falmouth Bay, where they became disorientated. An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph discovered that the sonar was being used as part of an exercise involving the nuclear-powered submarine Torbay and a number of surface warships.

The Merlin was equipped with a mid-frequency sonar dipper known as S2089, which is winched down into the sea to detect submarines beneath the surface. Mid-frequency sonar, which transmits pulses of sound just beyond the range of human hearing, has been associated with past strandings of marine mammals.

Research by the US Navy has blamed such sonar for whale strandings. Prof Rodney Coates, an expert on underwater acoustics who has investigated the effect of sonar on whales and dolphins, said middle-range sonars were powerful enough to damage an animal's hearing if it was close enough. "They can also have a behavioural impact that can lead them to swim into the shallower water."

Immediately after the dolphins died, military officials insisted that the only vessel using sonar beforehand had been a survey ship operating a low-powered seabed scanner. Later statements have contradicted this position.

Sarah Dolman, science officer at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, said: "The Royal Navy activity in the days leading up to the strandings involved intense noise sources and this makes it a credible suspect."

Experts at the Institute of Zoology, who run the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Project (CSIP) are examining the dead animals. Rescuers saved seven of the stranded dolphins, but 24 died and two more had to be put down. The naval exercises took place south of Portsmouth and the S2089 was used on Thursday, June 5. The survey ship Enterprise was scanning the seabed using high-frequency sonar.

Prof Ian Boyd, director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University and an expert on the effect of sonar on whales, said he did not believe the high-frequency sonar would have been powerful enough to harm the dolphins. He added, however: "There is a relationship between the type of sonars the military uses for hunting submarines and the strandings of some species of cetaceans."

Rob Deaville, project manager of CSIP, said: "The role of naval sonar is one of the things we will look at, but we are keeping an open mind. We have seen no evidence yet of physical damage in the animals we have examined so far."

A spokesman for the MoD said: "We are very confident that it is highly unlikely that Royal Navy activities resulted in what happened to these mammals."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Was the Navy responsible for the stranded dolphins?

The death of dolphins in Cornwall has been likened to a "mass suicide" by a pathologist who examined their bodies.

Vic Simpson said the dolphins had swallowed a large amount of mud but tests revealed no signs of disease or poisoning.

"On the face of it, it looks like some sort of mass suicide - but the question is why?" she told local newspaper the Western Morning News."The dolphins had swallowed and inhaled big chunks of mud from the estuary. Their lungs and stomachs were full of it. That is very bizarre indeed."We have seen strandings on beaches, sometimes with five to seven dolphins - but never on a scale like this."

It comes as it emerged that the Royal Navy was carrying out live firing exercises hours before the 26 dolphins died.

Marine experts now believe the mammals may have been panicked by an "underwater disturbance".

Up to 40 dolphins were found beached at four spots around Falmouth Bay, Cornwall, on Monday in one of the UK's worst cases of mass stranding.

Yesterday, the MoD said that several ships and a submarine had taken part in exercises in the bay.
It is understood live firing went on for up to three weeks and was carried out during the day and night.

But the ministry said there was no live firing after Sunday midday. It added it was unaware of an explosion at sea reported by the public.

Alan Knight, head of British Divers Marine Life Rescue which went to the scene, said: "I believe there was some sort of disturbance that made the dolphins panic."

Scotland faces oil spill that may endanger the dolphins' habitat.

WILDLIFE campaigners have voiced fresh fears for Scotland's bottlenose dolphins after an oil spill threatened their habitat.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society is calling for the UK government to reject oil and gas licensing in the bottlenose dolphin Special Area of Conservation after oil washed up at Buckie, Moray, near the boundary of the dolphins' protected area at the weekend.

Talisman, the oil producer, admitted a spill at Caithness last month came from its Beatrice oilfield and is investigating to see if it is to blame for the latest incident.

A spokesman for the firm, which is paying for clean-ups, said: "We take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously."

Pod of dolphins to be rescued!

A rescue operation has been launced to save a pod of dolphins stranded in a Cornish river.Divers from across Cornwall and Devon are at the scene trying stop the sea mammals swimming to far upstream.

Some Dolphins have already died after becoming beached in Percuil River, near Falmouth.Their cries of distress are believed to have brought other dolphins to river and there are fears that they too could run aground.Coastguards said the first pod of dolphins swam up the tranquil river on the county's southern coast before getting into difficulty in Porth Creek.

Teams of conservationists, divers, coastguards and local government officials are now in the area attempting to send the remaining dolphins back out to sea.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Dolphin's death is under investigation!

A DEAD dolphin has been found washed up on the beach at Whitburn.

The discovery was made by a walker near Whitburn Army Training Camp, off Mill Lane, yesterday, at about 10am.

Police were called and management of the incident was passed on to the National Trust.Investigations are under way to find out how the dolphin died.

Beached dolphin rescued by couple in Mexico

A large male dolphin stranded himself Sunday morning May 18, 2008, on the coral on the beach just beside Villa La Bella, an American owned bed and breakfast, on Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Their quick actions resulted in a successful rescue and release.

One of the workers Luis Alberto Romero Trujillo at Villa La Bella spotted the distressed dolphin around 8:45 AM Sunday morning when he went to hang the hammocks in the yard overlooking the beach. He quickly notified Curtis and Ashley Blogin, American owners of the bed and breakfast, and the two raced to see what they could do to help.

Helvetica, sans-serif; TEXT-DECORATION: none" href="" alt="Link to website">He seemed to know all along that we were trying to help

The dolphin was quite large, and the two could not move him at all. Curtis kept water on the dolphin while Ashley raced back to the house, gave directions to the location to the police, and phoned Pepe, the island vet. Curtis yelled for help from a small crowd that was gathering on the cliff above, and a couple of men climbed down the rocks to help Curtis get the dolphin back into the water.

Unfortunately the dolphin was so exhausted and disoriented that it was swimming sideways and kept running into the large rocks just off the shore. Ashley and Curtis got in the water and acted as human bumpers between the dolphin and the rocks; however, the dolphin finally found a sandy path to the beach and stranded itself again.

The dolphin had bite marks on his nose and tail as well as injuries from the coral on his side. While waiting for the Navy and other rescue boats to arrive, the island vet Pepe arrived and jumped right in the water, cowboy boots and all. Ashley, Curtis and Pepe kept the dolphin as comfortable as possible until two civil protection representatives arrived, and the group of five were able to get the dolphin back into the water and let it rest in their arms.

A Navy boat was first to arrive followed closely by the park patrol and a Profepa (government environmental impact) boat, and two divers with a harness headed for the dolphin. The harness was successfully attached, and although the water had gotten rougher, the dolphin never resisted.
"He seemed to know all along that we were trying to help," said Curtis.

With the harness safely attached the boat slowly led the dolphin to deeper water beyond the reef where they could remove the harness and lead the dolphin back to the south end of the island where a deep-water channel is located. By the time they got the dolphin to the Puenta Sur, the dolphin had time to rest, regain his strength, and swam away on his own.

While it is only speculation, the male dolphin appeared to be a 20- 25 year old male weighing more than 350 pounds. Based on the dolphin's injuries, he had been in a fight with another dolphin and sustained damage to his body and sonar, which is located in the nose. Between being exhausted from the fight and having his ability to navigate damaged, he beached himself accidentally.

For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release, contact Ashley M. Blogin or visit

Villa La Bella is a boutique, oceanfront bed and breakfast located on Isla Mujeres just 8 miles off the coast of Cancun.

Contact:Ashley M. Blogin, Villa La Bella011-52-998-888-0342

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Killer whales teaching their calves to hunt Common dolphins

These spectacular images capture one of the rarest sights of the seas - a killer whale attacking a dolphin.

Dive expert Rainer Schimpf says both species are a common sight off Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth in South Africa, where he took the pictures.

For years he had heard fishermen's tales of killer whales (or orcas) coming to Port Elizabeth to hunt for dolphins, and decided to carry out his own research to find out if the rumours were true.

"Orcas are usually seen in Algoa Bay in the middle of April and spend around two weeks here," Mr Schimpf explains.

"At the same time around 1,000 common dolphins are also in the area so it is a perfect diving environment to see these amazing animals.

"However this year we noticed the common dolphins were more and more difficult to find.
"Then on May 2 a small group of common dolphins came towards the boat. As they came closer I realised something had been separating them."

"Shortly after I saw the first of five orcas - three adults and two babies," he said.

"More astonishing was the fact that they were playing with the dolphin, teaching their young how to hunt. The parents breached the water with the dolphins to show the baby how to kill and survive - the male orca even managed to snare one of the dolphins and feed it to his young.

"The whole act lasted around half an hour - it was an unbelievable sight."

Together with the Great White Shark, the Orca is the top predator of the oceans. Males can grow up to 26 ft long and weigh up to 8 tonnes, with their mouths containing up to 50 dagger-like teeth. However their common name is deceptive, as this cetacean is not a whale, but a dolphin.

They are known to usually feed on fish such as herrings, mackerels, salmons, tuna, cod, and even sharks. However there have been rare reports of orca attacks on sea mammals, like walruses, seals, dolphins and toothed whales such as narwahls.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Rescued dolphin makes new friends

Exactly 402 days ago Alice the dolphin had just washed up on a Padre Island National Seashore beach, suffering from pneumonia on a cold and rainy April day.

On Wednesday, after more than a year restricted to a 40,000-gallon tank at the Texas State Aquarium Sea Lab, Alice will go to be with friends -- other marine mammals -- at San Antonio's Sea World of Texas, her caretakers say.

If somehow made aware of the move, she probably would celebrate by flapping enthusiastically against her tank's rubbing rope -- a toy she has adapted to since rehabilitating in captivity.
Alice was rescued from Padre Island National Seashore near Mile Marker 18 on April 7, 2007, said Heidi Watts, state operations coordinator of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Alice was taken to the Sea Lab, where she has been under the care of veterinarians and the 24-hour supervision of volunteers.

Between 100 and 200 volunteers have kept watch and company with Alice, spending thousands of hours looking after her in six shifts a day.

Despite recovering from pneumonia, Alice has continued to show signs of blood trouble and was not able to be taken off medication, Watts said. Officials decided it would be best for her to remain in captivity because her veterinarians and volunteers don't know what is causing the abnormal blood readings.

"We've just not been able to get her stable enough to maintain normal behavior," Watts said. "We basically did every diagnostic test and consulted with vets across the country, and no one can figure out what's wrong with her."

The move to Sea World will give Alice a chance to interact with other animals -- a necessity after being in isolation for a year, Watts said. Alice has stayed active during her year at the lab, especially taking a liking to rope she's able to scratch and slap.

Her personality is hard to gauge, in part because her human caretakers until recently were instructed to keep their distance in case she was able to be released into the wild.
"She kind of has her moments, and maybe like any other females, she is a little moody," Watts said.

Alice is scheduled to be transferred to Sea World on Wednesday.

Forty rough-toothed dolphins mysteriously die in mass

Something extremely odd is happening in Canary waters which is baffling marine biologists in southern Gran Canaria. At the time of going to press no less than nine dolphins had been found dead and washed ashore in recent days, all in an advanced stage of decomposition.The total number of cetacean dead in the archipelago as a whole is now approaching forty this year.

All of the dead belonged to the Steno bredanensis or rough-toothed dolphin variety.The stomach contents of each animal showed they had all been eating as normal within hours of their death. The fact they had been eating the same kind of fish means they could all have been in the same place whenever what it was occurred.

Tests are being carried out to establish the cause of death. Various theories being considered include a virus, bacteria, poison or some other form of pollution affecting vital organs or some other connecting factor to explain what occurred in the southern waters of Gran Canaria over the ten days previous to their discovery.

Scientists working on the case say the dead cetaceans washed ashore are more than likely the mere tip of an iceberg and many others will have been carried away on currents.Antonio Fernándiz, as expert at the Cetacean Investigation Unit at Las Palmas University, said that the evidence points to the animals having “died suddenly, together and within the same group” in relatively shallow water.

“Whatever caused their deaths has been something very fast as these were all healthy specimens which had been feeding up until they died. I have never witnessed anything like it before,” he said.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"