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You may remember way back in 2010 there was a campaign to rescue Tom and Misha from living in quite diabolical conditions in a small pool in a tourist town in Turkey. Thanks too Born Free Foundation and Turkish NGO Underwater Research Society they were successfully recovered and I'm pleased to report that their rehabilitation is going really well and the team are now hopeful that release will be possible! 

 

 

Jeff explains; "We have had and still do have many obstacles to overcome but, throughout, Tom and Misha have proven to be willing participants. We have been working hard to prepare them for life outside their sea-pen. Building up their fitness and stamina has been a crucial component. Their muscle strength was very weak when they first arrived and they were desperately underweight and lethargic as they had been confined to a ridiculously small and inadequate captive environment. They have since gained weight, their bodies are toned and they are clearly much fitter and stronger".


Misha_and_Tom__c__J_Foster_BFF.JPG


Some of the techniques adopted by the team were first tested during the rehabilitation of  the orca Keiko, star of the Hollywood hit ‘Free Willy’. Jeff recalled, "We ‘cut our teeth’ on Keiko, which was a hugely expensive and ambitious project.  We learned from that experience and this enabled us to go on and successfully release Springer, another orca ."

 

Jeff added, "Tom and Misha are different again, not only because they are a different species but because they have spent years in captivity and have lost a lot of their natural instincts, which is what makes this project so unique and pioneering. One of the challenges has been to change their focus from ‘above water’ and people, to below water and their natural habitat. If we can get Tom and Misha back to the wild, in my view, it will be one of the great release projects of all time."

 

Source: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/campaigns/marine/hisaronu-dolphins/update-march-2012/?&utm_source=express&utm_medium=press&utm_campaign=Hisaronu

 

Also if you have a bit of spare cash, even a fiver, you can donate here: http://www.bornfree.org.uk/shop/acatalog/Dolphin_Rescue.html

 

 

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A bit of an ongoing story here, back in November a dolphin was rescued near Alabama, the area has seen a massive increase in strandings recently, see my previous posts here: Further on the Gulf Coast strandings.

 

Well it appears the dolphin, named Chance is still alive and seems to be healing well although still has a long way to go. Sadly the write up doesn't tell us much about the strandings which have now been declared a "Unusual Mortality Event."


GULFPORT, Mississippi -- A nearly dead dolphin found in Alabama in November is recovering at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and yielding data that may help explain 630 dolphin strandings that have occurred in the northern Gulf of Mexico since February 2010.

 

Moby Solangi, director of the institute, said he is not at liberty to talk about details of what has been discovered as the dolphin named "Chance" has been nursed back from the brink of death after being rescued Nov. 24 from near a marsh at Fort Morgan.

 

"What we can say is it has revealed some significant information," Solangi said.

 

"Finding this live dolphin was like finding the black box from an airplane after a crash," he said.

 

 

dolphin-chance-food-b95bcd8b0fab52a5.jpg

 

Source: http://blog.gulflive.com/mississippi-press-news/2012/01/dolphin_found_in_alabama_is_yi.html

 

 

 

Massive fingers crossed for Chance and I hope they can work out whats happening and put an end to it soon!

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Sorry for the long break in updates, the New Year is always a bit of a crazy time with the previous years data needing to be sorted and validated. There will be a report, which will head over to Defra probably sometime around April, then hopefully I'll be able to post up some of the main points of 2011's strandings up here shortly after that.

 

And more dolphin related news, some interesting interspecies behaviour for you all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source with interesting write up: http://animalwise.org/2011/12/14/an-uplifting-dolphin-story-literally/

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A few weeks ago I put up a post about the unprecedented numbers of bottlenose dolphins stranding off the Gulf Coast Dead dolphins still a concern on Gulf Coast

 

Further to this story, a live animal has been found, this will give the researchers a good chance to study the animal and hopefully see if they can untangle whats going on. Fingers crossed 'Chance' as the locals have named it, survives!

 

Four more dolphins washed up on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico this week. For coastal residents from Louisiana to Florida, the beached animals are a familair sight: hundreds of decomposing dolphin carcasses have turned up over the last two years.

 

But last week, Alabama residents came across a stranded dolphin that was still alive, though badly injured.

 

Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, Miss., where the rescued dolphin is being cared for and studied, said the discovery presented the institute’s first opportunity in two years to examine a live dolphin that was ill.

 

The researchers hope that studying the dolphin will yield clues to the principal cause of the die-off. “People in Alabama call it Chance,” Dr. Solangi said of the survivor

 

 

dolphin2-blog480.jpg

 

 

Source: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/among-hundreds-of-dead-an-intriguing-survivor/

 

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A baby bottlenose dolphin gets untangled from a fishing line in the USA.

 

The baby dolphin would've eventually died, had a determined team of marine biologists and veterinarians not set off on this amazing rescue.

 

"We were able to go right out and set the net around the animal, capture it, and the vets were able to disentangle it," said NOAA Biologist Jessica Powell.

 

Several feet of tangled fishing line was digging deep into the calf, through its mouth, around his flipper, and dorsal fin. It could've been a slow and painful death.

 

 

 

Source and video: http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/news/local/pinellas/dolphin-calf-rescued-near-john's-pass-11162011

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Large numbers of strandings, mainly bottlenose dolphins, has been happening on the Gulf Coast.

 

There has been some press speculation that it is linked to the recent oil spill however its worth noting that numbers were up before the spill happened. It's unlikely that the spill has helped and it looks like the oil may have decreased dolphin immunity, increasing their susceptibility of brucella, but it's not the only/main problem in this situation.

 

Sorry I'm going to link to 2 stories, the first one has some excellent graphs and maps to get a clear picture of whats going on:

 

 

graph_bottlenose_strandings.jpg

 

Source: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/10/whale-dolphin-deaths-gulf-twice-normal

 

This second one has a good write up..

 

The strandings peaked this year in March, with 72 reported from Florida to the Texas-Louisiana border. Sixty-seven of those were bottlenose dolphins. Since August, 52 more strandings have been reported, including nine this month.

 

More than 45,000 dolphins are estimated to call the Gulf home, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.

 

And while many speculate that the deaths may be linked to the Gulf oil spill, scientists say the phenomenon started months before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and began pouring oil into the Gulf.

 

“We were already consulting with the mortality group (to open up an investigation) when the oil spill occurred. And the number has never gone back down,” Fougères said.

 

Source: http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20111024/ARTICLES/111029742

 

 

Unfortunetly it is often very hard to tell what is causeing an event like this, not sure if we'll find out why this time.

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It's not unusal for bottlenose dolphins to attack harbour porpoises, it's something we've known about for years and is often their largest cause of death here in the UK. I wanted to put the link up for this as I know it's not very commonly known about outside scientific cetacean research circles and also as it's very rare to get pictures.

 

It had two badly broken jawbones, fractured ribs on both sides and a broken scapula, evidence of a sadistic attack. Worst of all, the female porpoise, which had been seen twice before and identified by researchers in Monterey Bay, was lactating when she was killed, according to marine biologists.

 

It was a clear case of what scientists are calling "porpicide," the deliberate slaying of a harbor porpoise by a surprising and, to most people, unlikely culprit.

 

"We suspect that it was a bottlenose dolphin," said Bill Keener, a researcher for Golden Gate Cetacean Research.

The brutal battering wasn't an isolated incident. Scientists say there has been a dramatic increase in dolphin attacks on harbor porpoises along the California coast over the past few years, including an attack Wednesday off Half Moon Bay.

 

porpoise bnd attack.jpg



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/16/BADK1L3JVQ.DTL#ixzz1YOpvZF00