“This month CMA’s Stranding Team has assisted on a variety of calls. Right at the start of the month, CMA’s Stranding Team participated in a collaborative effort to disentangle a dolphin calf in the Indian River Lagoon system. The calf had been spotted several days earlier with the line and buoy from a crab trap wrapped around its tail, and being followed closely by its mother. CMA joined forces with fellow organizations including Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Hubbs SeaWorld, SeaWorld Orlando, Georgia Aquarium’s Conservation Field Station, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Marine Mammal Conservancy, to help disentangle this dolphin! A fleet of boats set out in the early morning to locate the mother-calf pair. After about five hours of searching their 50 square mile home range, our very own Chuck White spotted the pair! Under the direction of Larry Fulford, the legendary captain of the capture boat, a 400-yard net was thrown out and we went to work! Everyone entered the water to support the net, which encircled the pair. Once both animals were restrained, the line was removed from the calf, and both the mother and calf were released! Hubbs SeaWorld monitored the pair after the intervention to ensure that there were no complications. This dolphin intervention was a success largely due to the dedication and effort put forth from each and every one of the participating facilities. It truly is amazing what teamwork can accomplish! 

The Stranding Team has also been given the opportunity to assist on a variety of sea turtle calls; a total of 5 this month, which were all green sea turtles. Once again, a big thank you to the Sea Turtle Department for allowing us to partake in these calls. 

We rounded up the month by doing some training with the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, the largest nonprofit bird sanctuary in North America. All in all it was a very insightful and interesting day, topped off by capturing, disentangling, and releasing a pelican that had been entangled in fishing gear. 

This month has been very exciting, with many rescue success stories! As always, we would like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated Stranding Team Members for all of their hard work! We are excited to see what next month has in store!”

 Happy Holidays!

“Our shy girl, Molly, was found in the intake at the Crystal River Power Plant in Citrus County and brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on July 19, 2006. Upon arrival, Molly was very active and was found to be a good body weight but had a number of injuries. First, her left rear flipper was a stub, which (even today) we are uncertain as to whether or not this flipper sustained an injury and healed on its own, or whether this was a birth defect. In addition, ¾ of her left front flipper was gone, and the left side of her neck had a large, open laceration. Even though these injuries were a few days old, the staff was confident that they were the result of a shark attack.

Molly was kept in shallow water during her first week here at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but she began to eat squid almost right away, and was scheduled almost immediately to have what remained of her left front flipper amputated. Molly’s procedure was conducted on July 28, 2006 by our former veterinarians, Dr. Cianciolo and Dr. Kirsch. While under anesthesia for over two hours, what remained of Molly’s left front flipper was amputated at her mid humerus and stitched closed. The laceration on the left side of her neck was also treated, cleaned and stitched closed as well. Molly began eating regularly again approximately a week after the surgery. Over the next month, she continued to make progress, and her wounds continued to heal. Once her stitches were removed, she had wound care and cleaning at the site conducted every day. In mid-October 2006, Molly wouldn’t open her eyes and was refusing food even though she was spending most of her time floating at the surface. She had blood drawn for testing, and when all tests could not confirm a specific problem, it was determined from her behavior, lack of appetite, and redness of her eyes that Molly was very sensitive to the amount of chlorine in her pool. Even today, the chlorine level of her pool is set so that it does not exceed 0.3ppm (parts per million).

Molly continued to have her wounds cared for in the months that followed. By February 2007, her skin, her laceration, and her wound from her flipper amputation were almost completely healed, and all of her swelling was gone. The care and cleaning of her wounds continued through the following year, and beginning in 2009, it was determined that she would only need to be pulled once a year for her annual physical. Molly currently resides in “Turtle Cove”, where she shares a pool with her pool mate, Stubby.”