Injured dolphin found dead off Manatee County coast - WFLA News Channel 8

Injured dolphin found dead off Manatee County coast

Posted: Updated:
© Photo by Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.  Photo taken under NMFS Permit #522-1785. © Photo by Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Photo taken under NMFS Permit #522-1785.
© Photo by Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.  Photo taken under NMFS Permit #522-1785. © Photo by Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. Photo taken under NMFS Permit #522-1785.
MANATEE COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Scientists from the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program have observed area dolphins for decades.

Dolphins are longtime residents, they grow up and raise their families in the same areas over many generations, and one of them was a male named ‘Otter'.

Dr. Katie McHugh with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program said, "We had seen him many times over the years, over 800 times since 1980."

Otter was used in groundbreaking research. Thanks to him, we now know male dolphins make close friendships with other males that last for years.

But on July 15th, he was spotted in Palma Sola Bay in horrifying shape. The scientists say not long ago, a boat propeller sliced his back.

"There were 17 slices ranging from 6 to 12 inches long," said Mote Researcher Gretchen Lovewell. "It was obvious when he came to the surface that something was wrong."

It's an injury so horrible it likely impacted his ability to eat.

Lovewell said, "The muscle that it cut is responsible for moving his tail."

Over the following days, rescuers tried to recover Otter but they had no luck. On July 20th, he was found floating dead at Palma Sola Bay.

Dr. McHugh said, "It's sad to think that one of the guys that we're used to seeing out here all the time  is just not gonna be there anymore."

And it's a tragedy that's preventable. Federal regulators suggest you stay 50 yards away from wild dolphins.

Researchers say on average, wild dolphins near Sarasota are approached by boaters once every six minutes, so it's important to keep an eye out and keep your distance.

Scientists say if boaters constantly hover near them, it could disrupt their natural behaviors, or hurt them, as in the case of Otter.

"It's ok to be curious and want to watch them, but watch them from a distance," said Lovewell.

It's important to remember that we are just visitors at their home, and we should leave the locals just as we found them.

"Whenever humans are either implicated or the cause of death, it's especially hard because you don't ever want to see an animal suffer at our hands," said Lovewell.

Follow John Rogers on Twitter: @WFLAJohn

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Lakeland neighborhood has continuing water problems, asks 8OYS for help

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:03 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:03:34 GMT
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
    Some Lakeland residents are tired of wondering whether they'll have water at home. Over the past month, they tell 8 On Your Side that they've lost water with no warning at least five times. And what's worse, the water stays off for up to eight hours at a time
  • Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Abercrombie dropping logo to boost brand

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:15 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:15:46 GMT
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
    The Abercrombie & Fitch logo has lost the power it once wielded, so the struggling teen retailer plans to strip off the once-prized logo from its clothing. Shares tumbled Thursday after it reported weak sales as more teens shop elsewhere. 
  • NewsMore>>

  • Two men injured in Gandy Bridge boat crash

    Two men injured in Gandy Bridge boat crash

    Saturday, August 30 2014 11:36 PM EDT2014-08-31 03:36:15 GMT
    Two men were injured in a single boat crash at the Gandy Bridge in Pinellas County Saturday. A 21-foot white Hydra-Sport boat collided with the Gandy Bridge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Officer Baryl Martin said in a news release. ...
    Two men were injured in a single boat crash at the Gandy Bridge in Pinellas County Saturday. A 21-foot white Hydra-Sport boat collided with the Gandy Bridge, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Officer Baryl Martin said in a news release. ...
  • Down power line stalls Gulf Blvd. traffic

    Down power line stalls Gulf Blvd. traffic

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:49 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:49:01 GMT
    Severe weather in Redington Beach has forced the shutdown of a portion of Gulf Blvd.Pinellas County authorities closed northbound and southbound Gulf Blvd. from 161st Ave. to 164th Ave. due to down power lines.Sheriffs's officials are asking motorists to avoid the area.
    Severe weather in Redington Beach has forced the shutdown of a portion of Gulf Blvd.Pinellas County authorities closed northbound and southbound Gulf Blvd. from 161st Ave. to 164th Ave. due to down power lines.Sheriffs's officials are asking motorists to avoid the area.
  • Buccaneers get to 53-man roster limit

    Buccaneers get to 53-man roster limit

    Saturday, August 30 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-08-31 00:08:37 GMT
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster now is in place. On Saturday, the team waived six players and released two others to reach the NFL player limit. The Bucs made the following roster moves today, according to team officials. ...
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 53-man roster now is in place. On Saturday, the team waived six players and released two others to reach the NFL player limit. The Bucs made the following roster moves today, according to team officials. ...
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.