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July 24, 2009

Clearwater Marine Aquarium to Help Release Rehabilitated Dolphin
Event will Provide Rare Photo/Video Opportunity

clear-water-marine-aqu-1Staff from Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), Gulf World Marine Park and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute plan to release rehabilitated Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Dunham. 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.

Dunham 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.

Monday, July 27 at 7:30 a.m. – Please note: Time may change as Dunham will be traveling from Panama City. All media outlets will be notified of any changes. Dunedin Causeway (located off of 1 Causeway Blvd. in Dunedin)

Important Media Information:

Video and Photo Opportunities:

All media will be allowed to stand on the shore to videotape and take photos of Dunham being transported to the water. One pool videographer (to be determined) and one pool photographer from CMA will be placed on a boat to get video of the dolphin in the water and swimming away. Media outlets in attendance will be provided with video and photos the same day. Staff will walk out as far as they can (while still touching) before releasing Dunham.

Possible Delays:

If there are any medical problems during the transport, there is a possibility Dunham’s release could be delayed. Phone calls and e-mail updates will be sent. Please note: Respond to this e-mail if there is a specific phone number from your news outlet that should be called in the event the release is canceled.

The time of the release may also change (at which time media outlets would be notified as well)

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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