Fears for friendly dolphin following 'boat injury' – Fishupdate.com

Fears for friendly dolphin following ‘boat injury’ Published:  16 October, 2007

Part of the dolphin’s tail has been cut off

A FRIENDLY, solitary bottlenose dolphin has had a significant part of her tail cut off, in what was almost certainly a collision with a boat propeller.

The female dolphin, named Dave, has been living off the coast of Kent where she has become a local celebrity due to her willingness to interact with swimmers and boat-users, a behaviour that she has learnt this year.

The serious injury, first noticed yesterday morning, to Dave’s tail comes despite previous warnings from animal welfare and rescue groups that this increasingly friendly dolphin was at high risk of an accident and especially propeller strike.

It is unclear whether Dave will survive her injury and the risk of infection to the wound. Veterinary opinion indicates that the next few days will be crucial and that there is high risk of infection. Even if she survives, Dave’s tail will never grow back again.

Tony Woodley, national spokesman for British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), said: “The images of this awful injury have been viewed by our leading veterinary specialist and he has expressed his concern that the animal could develop a severe infection and/or septicaemia. “Volunteers from BDMLR are going to keep a very close watch on Dave’s behaviour over the next few days to see if she deteriorates in condition.”

Mark Simmonds, Director of Science for WDCS, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society said: “I am deeply shocked by this injury which has happened despite all the warnings that have been issued not to feed or otherwise try to tame Dave. I urge boat-users not to go near her, as she is now even more vulnerable. This latest wounding follows the deaths of two other friendly dolphins in the UK last year and we really must learn to treat these animals with more respect. We are currently just killing them with ‘kindness’ by first taming them and then not looking after the tamed animals.”

Margaux Dodds, Director & Co-founder of Marine Connection adds: “This is one of the worst injuries I have seen to a solitary dolphin and could prove fatal should she contract septicaemia. For this reason we urge people, especially at this time, to respect her situation and keep their distance as she must be in more than some pain and discomfort and we are extremely concerned for her future welfare.”

WDCS, BDMLR and the Marine Connection have been calling for boat-users and swimmers to stay away from Dave and highlighting the risk to her, whilst also trying to persuade people not to tame her because of the increasing risk to such dolphins.

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