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May 16th - Dolphin Calf Stranding in Port Royal

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

On May 16th, we got a call from a boater who found this young dolphin calf that was alone and exhibiting signs of injury and was struggling to swim. With the approval from NOAA officials, the boater picked up the calf and transported it to a nearby boat landing in Port Royal, SC where they met LMMN volunteer Jerrie Legare and veterinarians from the Port Royal Veterinary Hospital.

Upon examination, veterinarians noted multiple lacerations and bruising along the bottom of the dolphin. Due to these injuries and the fact that this calf was found alone and struggling to swim, the decision was made to humanely euthanize it. These decisions are not made lightly, but it was best not to prolong this calf's suffering and we appreciate the quick response of the vets and staff with Port Royal Veterinary Hospital.

We were able to pick up the calf and conduct a full necropsy. From the necropsy, we were able to make detailed notes of the multiple lacerations and hemorrhaging along the neck, abdomen, and peduncle as well as rake marks on the peduncle and fluke. It is difficult to know exactly what caused the lacerations, but many tissue samples were collected and sent off for histopathology testing to get a better understanding of the overall health of this animal.

Thank you to everyone who helped with this stranding - the boater who called it in, Jerrie Legare, staff with the Port Royal Veterinary Hospital, Bonnie Ertel, Brooke Brown, Lauren Rust, and our new interns Brooke Staples and Katie Fisk. We appreciate all the help and support!

Stay tuned next week on our social media for a behind the scenes look at the response and necropsy of this dolphin.

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