Mote treating dolphin stranded on Longboat
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is treating a bottlenose dolphin that stranded last Wednesday on Longboat Key in Sarasota County. The dolphin was found on the beach by volunteers with Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol, who were checking on reports of turtle nests being affected by high tides and stormy weather that afternoon. As the patrollers were checking the nests at about 3:30 p.m., they came upon the dolphin stranded on the beach. The Turtle Patrol played a critical role in helping to stabilize the animal and alert Mote staff members about the event.
Mote dispatched a team that brought the animal to Mote’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital where it remains. The dolphin is a female estimated to be about 3 years old. At about 6.5 feet long and weighing about 171 pounds, she appears to be underweight. The dolphin has been nicknamed “Edna.”
She is being treated for severe pneumonia, and Mote staff are with the dolphin around the clock. Caregivers are supporting Edna in the water and allowing her to swim on her own for short periods of time.
The public can help care for this dolphin by making a donation to support the cost of medicines for this sick animal. Donations can be made online at www.mote.org/hospitalhelp or by calling Mote at (941) 388-4441 ext. 309.
If you spot a stranded dolphin, whale or sea turtle…
First, within Sarasota or Manatee county waters, if you see a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle, please call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program Pager, a 24-hour response service, at (941) 988-0212.
Then, you can provide supportive care until help arrives:
• Do not push the animal back into the water — this is both illegal and will prevent the animal from receiving proper care.
• Your safety is of paramount concern: Be sure that water and weather conditions are safe before proceeding.
• If safe to do so, you can stabilize the dolphin by holding it upright so that its blowhole is above water.
• If the dolphin is beached, you can help further by making the dolphin more comfortable by digging holes in the sand for its front (pectoral) flippers then rolling the animal upright.
• While awaiting the arrival of the stranding team, protect the dolphin from overheating and sunburn by keeping the animal wet (avoiding getting water into the animal’s blowhole when the dolphin breathes) and by providing shade.
• To avoid injury, stay clear of the mouth and tail and observe the animal from a safe distance until the appropriate experts arrive. Even though the animal is probably sick or injured, remember that wild animals are very strong.
• Keep children and pets at a safe distance and try to avoid startling the animal.
• If you see a stranded or dead manatee anywhere in state waters or a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties please call the FWC Wildlife Alert hotline at (888) 404-FWCC (3922).