Successful Intervention to Help Dolphin Swim Out of Residential Creek
This week, Clearwater Marine Aquarium was proud to work with our partners at NOAA-NMFS and FWC to successfully encourage a lone dolphin from a residential creek in Clearwater, Florida, to open waters. A team of 28 biologists formed a human chain to create a visual and sound barrier to guide the animal to safety.
CMA’s Rescue team monitored this dolphin daily since January 1, 2023, to assess its behavior, body condition, and environment. We noted that the animal was in good body condition with normal respiration rates and was displaying normal behavior, such as foraging, during observations. Since monitoring began, the dolphin had not left the creek. This posed potential long-term problems for the animal, such as isolation from other dolphins and an increased risk of harassment and human interactions. Therefore, NOAA determined it would be in the animal’s best interest to intervene to help the animal leave the area.
We’re thankful to the residents in the area who worked with us to help protect the animal from harassment and provided access to their property while we monitored and rescued the animal.
This rescue effort was conducted in accordance with CMA’s Stranding Agreement with NOAA’s Southeast Region under Section 112c of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
How can you help?
If you see an animal in distress, please contact your local wildlife rescue organization. You can contact CMA’s 24-hour rescue line at 727 441-1790 ext. 1 in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, and Levy counties.
Dolphins are federally protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and harassment, attempting to feed, or feeding are illegal. Please give animals space to be wild and refrain from getting too close (within 50 yards) and interacting with them.
Learn more about marine life viewing guidelines from NOAA.