Updated Dolphin Locations for 3.14.10

Hi all,

The white-sided dolphins appear to be on the move. I have prepared a new map with the satellite locations from yesterday and the new data received earlier today (below). As you will see in the map, it does look like the two tagged dolphins have split up. As you may recall, the animals were released as part of a group of six on Friday night. Three additional animals were released by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) team on Saturday afternoon from the same release location. One of the three animals released on Saturday is also carrying a satellite tag, placed by the IFAW team.

On the map #62 or #63 are followed by a dash and the date that location data was received. All of the plots in yellow are for animal #63 while the plots in purple are for #62. As you can see #62 has made it outside the tip of Cape Cod while #62 remains inside the bay.

I have been in communication with IFAW and there is a chance (keep in mind there is a margin of error in the location data from the satellite) that one of the tagged animals from Friday may have joined with the tagged animal from Saturday. The next several days will be very important and should shed light on this.

There are many reasons why these animals would split up. There isn't enough space in this blog to cover them all. White-sided dolphins can travel in pods of up to about 1,000 animals. Foraging as a group that size isn't a good survival strategy so they may split up in to sub-groups for foraging. I am not at all suggesting that this small group split up to forage, I am only providing an example of why social species of dolphins may split up. We shall learn a great deal more in the days and weeks ahead.

The fact that they are moving is a very good sign and gives me encouragement. I'm not only concerned about the dolphin's ability to recover from the stress of the stranding event and loss of pod mates, but they also have this weather on top of all that. They will be using more energy output and may have additional obstacles in communicating in turbulent seas. It will be a stressful wait and see game until the new location data come in the morning.

Our first attempt at moving the dolphins on Thursday.

You all have been very supportive and caring with your comments on previous posts (here and here) and on the Aquarium's facebook fan page. Someone at my stranding site suggested that these animals should be humanely euthanized. I assessed them and, under the direction of our veterinarians, did make that decision for one who had gone into shock. The others had not and I thought with the proper supportive care by trained people that the remaining animals had a good chance of survival.

I never want an animal to suffer, that's the bottom line. I also see it as my job to know enough about cetacean (family including whales, dolphins and porpoise) biology, physiology, health and behavior to know what levels of stress they can handle. These animals are chased by predators, battered by larger dolphins, survive fairly traumatic injuries and brutal storms, all which elicit the stress response and they somehow survive. They are equipped to manage some levels of stress and trauma, it's just difficult to be the person on the beach to decide when they have reached the point of no return. I prefer to give an animal a chance if there isn't enough evidence to the contrary. The tag data for me will help me decide if I made the right decision. Until we get several more days of data, I won't be resting easy.

- Connie


1 comment:

  1. Keep up the good work Connie! You have our support to do whatever you can for these animals!!!