The CMA Stranding Team has been extremely active this past month!
The CMA Stranding Team Workshop Series has been going great! This month we offered two separate workshops, including “Equipment and Sanitation” and “Marine Mammal Biology and Identification”. During the “Equipment and Sanitation” workshop, volunteers had the opportunity to learn all about stranding equipment and most importantly, how to properly sanitize EVERYTHING after a stranding event. This is one of the most important parts of responding to a stranding, because we want to ensure that no zoonotic diseases are transmitted to our beloved, resident dolphins. After the workshop, volunteers put their new skills to the test by sanitizing our stranding van and boat. The “Marine Mammal Biology and Identification” workshop was all about teaching our members the biology of cetaceans and how to identify the 28 species of dolphins and whales that could potentially strand in South Florida! We had a large turnout for this workshop, and members had the extra special opportunity to experience the anatomy of a dolphin firsthand, via a hands-on activity with our dolphins Nicholas and Hope. A huge thanks to trainers John and Talia for making this happen for our spectacular volunteers!
Our Stranding Team has also been assisting Dr. Ann Weaver with her research on wild dolphins! Specifically, Dr. Weaver studies involves photo identification of the wild bottlenose dolphins that live near Johns Pass. She has been studying these animals since 2003 and has identified 291 individuals by their unique dorsal fins! The CMA Stranding Team has been able to contribute to Dr. Weaver’s research, by providing her with all the dorsal fin photos of bottlenose dolphin strandings that we have responded to. Although we had only a handful of pictures to give to her, to our surprise we found that many of the photo’s matched her animals! Therefore, Dr. Weaver now is able to “connect the dots” of what happened to the animals and also learn more about that individual (e.g. how old it is by a tooth sample). The Stranding Team will definitely continue to aid Dr. Weaver in her future research!
Thanks to our amazing Stranding Team volunteers for all of their hard work, dedication, and positive attitude! We truly cannot do our mission without you! Looking forward to what next month has in store.