Subject: Stranding:Dolphins Stranded on Florida B (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Sat, 3 Jan 1998 10:44:57 -0500 (EST)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu,  1 Jan 98 22:43:00 GMT 
From: r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: Dolphins Stranded on Florida B

Dolphins Stranded on Florida Beach

   CAPE SAN BLAS, Fla. (AP) -- Rescuers struggled in cold, windy
weather and rough water trying to help keep dozens of dolphins
alive after the animals stranded themselves on a Florida Panhandle
beach.
   About 30 roughtooth dolphins, a species not normally found in
shallow water, managed to swim back out into the Gulf of Mexico on
Sunday, while 29 were trucked to a boat basin on Cape San Blas, a
narrow, hook-shaped peninsula that juts into the gulf about 75
miles southwest of Tallahassee, said sheriff's Capt. Joe Nugent.
   Of the approximately 60 dolphins, about a dozen are known to
have died.
   On Monday, seven dolphins were shipped to the Gulfarium, a
marine attraction near Fort Walton Beach, and authorities were
hoping to send four more each to similar facilities in Sarasota and
St. Augustine. Up to five remaining at the basin may have to be
euthanized because no other facilities are available, Nugent said.
   Members of the public and even prisoncamp inmates waded into
62-degree water Sunday to join in the rescue effort along with
personnel from government and rescue agencies.
   "I've never seen a mass stranding in this area like this,"
said Ron Hardy, co-owner of Gulf World, a marine attraction at
Panama City Beach.
   "When you have this many animals there's nothing you can do.
You pick out one or two or three and try to help them. It's very
heartbreaking."
   The most common cause of mass stranding of dolphins and whales
is when a pod's leader gets ill with a virus or bacteria, and
beaches itself to get a steady flow of oxygen, Hardy said. Still,
that phenomenon usually involves smaller groups of mammals, Nugent
said.
   Blood tests indicated no evidence of disease, but additional
testing is being done on the dolphins that died.
   Timothy Burney, an inmate from a state forestry prison camp, was
among the volunteers who stood in the surf Sunday, trying to hold
weakened dolphins upright to keep their blowholes out of the water
so they could breathe.
   "This is my first time seeing something like this, my first
time touching one," Burney said. "I just want to help them out
and keep them alive, which is a discouraging experience because
they don't look too good."