On Saturday, July 29, Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program responded to a Fraser’s dolphin stranded on Turtle Beach.
An 81-inch-long, 159 pound male did not rejoin the rest of the group that had already been pushed back to sea by beachgoers. Responders attempted to push the dolphin back with his group that was milling together several hundred yards offshore, a statement from Mote said.
The dolphin was examined on site by Mote’s veterinarian, Dr. Adrienne Atkins. After discussions with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, it was decided that the most humane process was to euthanize the dolphin based on the species and the multiple re-strandings, Mote’s statement said.
Mote’s team was assisted by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, a Chicago Zoological Society Program in collaboration with Mote and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
A necropsy, an animal autopsy, was conducted but came back with an inconclusive results in regards to a cause of death. Tissue analyses could provide more insight when results return in several weeks, Mote’s statement said. Not every stranding has a determinable cause of death.
Fraser’s dolphins are deep-water animals that don’t normally visit Sarasota coastal waters. Later that afternoon, two more dolphins were reported near the shore off Caspersen Beach in Venice.
Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program responds 24 hours a day, seven days a week to reports of sick, injured and dead marine mammals and sea turtles in Sarasota and Manatee county waters.
Live animals are evaluated, and if they are deemed good candidates for rehabilitation, they are admitted to Mote’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital or Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital for treatment. If the animal is already dead or not a good candidate for rehab, they undergo a post-mortem examination, Mote’s statement said.
Beachgoers should not push stranded marine mammals back out to sea. Stranded mammals are often sick or injured, and an assessment should be conducted by trained professionals prior to release.
If beachgoers on Sarasota or Manatee county waters see a stranded or dead dolphin, whale or sea turtle, they should call Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program at 988-0212.