Officials Update NOAA After Dolphin Sighting

August 15, 2013

On Monday, August 12th 2013, Bermuda experienced a lone dolphin lethargically swimming close to shore for several hours in Somerset Long Bay. Officials from the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo [BAMZ] and Dolphin Quest were onsite to make a visual assessment of the dolphin’s health and to set up a field station in the event that Dr. Ian Walker, veterinarian and Principal Curator at BAMZ, determined that medical assistance was needed. After several hours, the dolphin returned to deeper waters away from the shore.

“The dolphin was exhibiting some very unusual behavior,” said Dr. Walker. “It is rare to find this type of common dolphin so close to the Bermuda shores, and in light of the recent mass stranding event on the US East Coast, we were on heightened alert. If this dolphin returns to the shallow shoreline in the coming days, we are advising the public to keep their distance and to notify BAMZ or the marine police.”

Last month, the US East Coast experienced a mass dolphin stranding which was officially declared an unusual mortality event (UME) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). According to the NOAA Web site, “Preliminary testing of tissues from one dolphin indicates possible morbillivirus infection, although it is too early to say whether or not morbillivirus may be causing this event.”

Representatives from Dolphin Quest and BAMZ have provided an update to the officials at NOAA with regard to this week’s shallow water dolphin sighting in Bermuda, and they will continue to keep NOAA apprised of local dolphin sightings or strandings to help our global marine mammal community keep a close eye on potentially related dolphin events.

A group of local organizations including BAMZ, Dolphin Quest, the marine police, and a host of others have committed to assist in the event of a marine mammal stranding or potential stranding situation. Under the guidance of Dr. Walker, this coordinated group will continue to contribute animal expertise, resources and field staff support to respond to and provide care for distressed marine mammals.

“We are fortunate to have the unique and valuable expertise that Dolphin Quest provides in assessing dolphin behavior and providing safe care and handling of dolphins should we decide it’s in the animal’s best interest to medically treat it,” says Dr. Walker. “We are also very grateful for the assistance from the management and staff of Cambridge Beaches, H20 Sports and the many others who helped with Monday’s dolphin response.”

The public is being advised not to approach any stranded or potentially distressed marine mammal, for their safety and the safety of the animal. Please report any such sightings to BAMZ (441) 293-2727 directly.

Read More About

Category: All, Environment