Subject: Dolphin Number 56 - sightings wanted (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 12:50:16 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 1997 11:05:55 -0400
From: "Daniel K. Odell" <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: Dolphin Number 56 - sightings wanted

Back in August of 1979 we freeze-branded a number of bottlenose dolphins
in the Indian River Lagoon on the east central coast of Florida.  Dolphin
56 is a male that was estimated to be 12 years old based on tooth growth
layer groups at the time of branding.

Over the years he has built up quite a reputation in the north end of the
Indian River and adjacent Mosquito Lagoon.  Some place along the line he
was fed by people and started to surprise boaters by approaching their
boats - even putting his snout on the gunwale of small boats - and
apparently begging for food.  Last fall (1996) his photo was in the
Orlando Sentinel showing some folks holding out food as 56 came out of the
water to get it.

To the best of our knowledge he has never been seen outside the Indian
River/Mosquito Lagoon area.  However, early this year he was seen by a
reliable source in Jacksonville, Florida, having apparently traveled up
the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).  Then on 2 April he was seen off Hilton
Head Island, South Carolina, and then on 4 April about 20 miles south of
Charleston, SC.

We have no idea of where he is going but want to alert everyone on the
east coast of the US to be on the lookout.  He is very friendly,
approaches boats and the '56' on both sides of his dorsal fin is quite
legible at close range.

We would appreciate any and all sighting reports and copies of photos for
purposes of positive identification.

Daniel K. Odell, Ph.D.                phone: +407-363-2662
Research Biologist                      fax: +407-345-5397
Sea World, Inc.
7007 Sea World Drive
Orlando, Florida  32821-8097  USA