Calf freed and released with assistance from Georgia Aquarium

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Credit: Georgia Aquarium

The Georgia Aquarium and partnering institutions responded to a call earlier this week that a bottlenose dolphin calf was struggling to swim alongside its mother due to entanglement in marine debris near Daytona Beach.

The animals were spotted Wednesday morning in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida. Authorized by NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Program, the teams were able to safely approach the animals, handle them, and allowed veterinarians to evaluate the condition of the calf which appeared healthier than anticipated.  

Specialists removed fishing line from that dolphins tail flukes and dorsal fin, cleaned the wounds, and administered antibiotics.  After the 13-month-old calf was released back to the Indian River Lagoon waters a fishing rod and reel that measured eight feet was found where the calf was handled. 

Although not certain at this time, it is possible that the young dolphin had been dragging the rod and reel with the addition of marine growth (algae and barnacles) that had built up on the entangled fishing line.