Sun, Jun 24, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Dolphin nursed back to health

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A bottlenose dolphin found stranded on a beach in Cigu Township (七股), Greater Tainan, two months ago has recovered from its injuries and will be put back in the sea today, the Forestry Bureau said.

In late April, the male dolphin was found on a beach with cuts and lacerations all over its body, and was immediately sent to the Taijiang Cetacean Rescue Center in Greater Tainan’s Sihcao (四草) area.

The bureau said it had called for emergency assistance from the center’s cetacean rescue team after it received the Coast Guard Administration’s report about the distressed animal. With the collaboration of National Cheng Kung University’s Marine Biology and Cetacean Research Center, the dolphin was put in the Taijiang center’s pool for treatment and recovery.

The dolphin was given the name “Shunzi” (順子), meaning “success,” in the hope that it would be set free “successfully and smoothly,” the bureau said.

According to the bureau, a significant proportion of its skin was covered in blisters and the animal was diagnosed with pnumothorax and diarrhea on the first day.

The dolphin’s debilitated condition was severe enough that it was unable to swim in balance.

Late last month, the center began adjusting its diet by reducing the proportion of food it was fed by humans and increasing the amount of live food for it to prey on.

After receiving platelet-rich plasma therapy and being cared by 446 volunteers in shifts for 1,333 hours during the past two months, the dolphin recovered from all its injuries and illnesses and is back at a normal weight, the bureau said.

The volunteers’ hard work was rewarded when they observed the dolphin interacting with a rescued green sea turtle in the pool — a sign it had recovered successfully.

Following a discussion between specialists and veterinarians on June 16, the team decided to install a satellite tracking device on the dolphin and release it back into the ocean today.

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