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Clearwater Marine Aquarium Helps Release Dunham the Dolphin

July 28, 2009

release-dunhamThis morning, staff from Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), Gulf World Marine Park and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute released rehabilitated Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Dunham. He was released shortly after 8 a.m. at the Dunedin Causeway and immediately found two other dolphins to swim with. CMA staff rescued Dunham from Anclote Key Island in December 2008. CMA staff will monitor Dunham’s progress through the use of a VHF transmitter for two months after the release. This will help provide researchers with important information about his progress and travels.

release-dunham-1Dunham was found emaciated with several superficial abrasions. He weighed 245 pounds and is estimated to be about 6-9 years old. CMA provided immediate medical attention, including antibiotic injections, fluids and supported him in a triage pool at CMA overnight, before he was transported to Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City. Dunham suffered from pneumonia and severe gastritis. After almost seven months of rehabilitation, he now weighs about 275 pounds and is ready for release.

Facts Of Interest:

  • CMA has not helped with a dolphin release since November 2006 (when Mandy and Troy were released).
  • According to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), since 2004, in the Southeast region (from Texas to North Carolina, and including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico), 26 dolphins have been released.
  • The average per year in the Southeast region is 5.2, although this number is skewed by 2005, when there were 13 animals released (there was a mass stranding of more than 70 animals.
  • According to NOAA, 24 dolphins have been released in Florida over the past five years (this number is again skewed by the 2005 release of 13 animals).
  • Released animals include Bottlenose, Risso’s, Rough-toothed, Harbor Porpoise and Atlantic spotted dolphins

Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a Florida non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to marine life rescue, rehabilitation and release, and environmental education.

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