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NOAA Fisheries Service Rescues The Last Four Trained Dolphins Washed Into Mississippi Sound After Hurricane Katrina

Date:
September 22, 2005
Source:
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
The NOAA Fisheries Service and the Marine Life Aquarium of Gulfport, Miss., working with a number of other partners, rescued the last four of the eight trained bottlenose dolphins that were swept out of an aquarium tank torn apart by the storm surge of Hurricane Katrina on August 29. Normally held in captivity, the dolphins don't have the necessary skills to survive on their own.

The first eight dolphins to be rescued that were washed out of their pool at the Marine Life Aquarium in Gulfport, Miss., by a huge wave generated by Hurricane Katrina.
Credit: Image courtesy of National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

Sept. 20, 2005 — The NOAA Fisheries Service and the Marine LifeAquarium of Gulfport, Miss., working with a number of other partners,rescued the last four of the eight trained bottlenose dolphins thatwere swept out of an aquarium tank torn apart by the storm surge ofHurricane Katrina on August 29. Normally held in captivity, thedolphins don't have the necessary skills to survive on their own. Theyhave survived various injuries and predators and have stayed togethersince the storm.

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On September 10, the team of NOAA marine mammal biologists andaquarium trainers first located the eight dolphins and began providingfood and medicine to the animals. Over the course of a week, the teamwas able to capture four of the weakest dolphins, and has been feedingthe others several times a day as they planned and performed themulti-stage rescue. The remaining four dolphins vanished over theweekend. Through reports from the Coast Guard, NOAA Fisheries Servicescientists found the dolphins Tuesday morning while doing surveys in aNOAA boat near Biloxi, Miss.

"Among all the destruction and loss from Hurricane Katrina, thisdolphin rescue is a bit of good news. It is a wonderful example ofpartners coming together to bring the dolphins to safety," said BillHogarth, NOAA Fisheries Service director. "This rescue effort is asuccess story for all the partners involved and for the public who havetaken such an interest in the plight of these dolphins."

Due to the unclean condition of the water and the difficulty of therescue, biologists captured the dolphins in stages. The animals weretransported to nearby salt-water pools, provided by the U.S. Navy,where they will receive medical care and be evaluated for diseases,including contagious diseases. NOAA Fisheries Service lead veterinarianDr. Teri Rowles said the dolphins will be kept in quarantine whilescientists access their overall health.

"We're pleased we were able to rescue all eight dolphins," saidRowles. "They are now in a situation where full diagnostics can be doneand medical care can be provided. The rescue team remains cautiouslyoptimistic that they will recover from this ordeal."

The rescue effort involved partners including the U.S. Navy, the AirNational Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department ofAgriculture, the Gulf World Marine Park, the Florida Fish and WildlifeConservation Commission and the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

Days before the hurricane, workers at the Marine Life Aquarium wereable to move another group of dolphins into hotel swimming pools. Theseanimals survived the storm and were moved to the Gulfarium in FortWalton Beach, Fla. The eight dolphins that were rescued from the wildhad been left in a large Marine Life Aquarium pool that had survivedHurricane Camille in 1969.

The NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preservingthe nation's living marine resources and their habitat throughscientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Serviceprovides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit ofthe nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, andhelping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers andrecreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated toenhancing economic security and national safety through the predictionand research of weather and climate-related events and providingenvironmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. "NOAA Fisheries Service Rescues The Last Four Trained Dolphins Washed Into Mississippi Sound After Hurricane Katrina." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922013127.htm>.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. (2005, September 22). NOAA Fisheries Service Rescues The Last Four Trained Dolphins Washed Into Mississippi Sound After Hurricane Katrina. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922013127.htm
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. "NOAA Fisheries Service Rescues The Last Four Trained Dolphins Washed Into Mississippi Sound After Hurricane Katrina." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050922013127.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

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