Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

Mohawk aka Mohawkina

Mohawk is a Bottlenose Dolphin calf located in the Brownsville Ship Channel in South Padre Island. As a very young calf, Mohawk sustained an injury on his melon in the shape of a stripe down the center of his melon and was dubbed "Mohawk." Mohawk eventually recovered from the melon injury, but became entangled in fishing gear shortly thereafter.


Scarlet and George Colley of the SPI Sea Life Nature Center, who also operate a dolphin and nature watching tour boat, have kept track of Mohawk and his mother since the day of his birth and was essential to the search and rescue operation which involved several boats and 5-6 teams from different organizations including the TMMSN, Texas State Aquarium, SPI Sea Life Nature Center, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

In order to rescue Mohawk, and free him from his entanglement, he had to be captured along with his mother, who rarely left his side. Mohawk's environment consisted of deep water (30-60 feet) with shallows starting abruptly at the bank at 7 feet, making a shallow water capture challenging.

Mohawk sustained an injury that earned her the name.
All pictures on this page are courtesy of Scarlet Colley.

Once the entire team was in position, Mohawk and her mother (Mohawk was determined to be female) were safely restrained for examination and gear removal by the veterinary team. Previous to the examination, it was feared that Mohawk had ingested the fishing gear, but the monofilament was only bridled through the corners of the animal's mouth. However, a steel leader and several yards of monofilament line were wrapped around the animal's body in several places and were slowly working their way into the tissue in what would have most likely been a fatal amputation of the dorsal and pectoral fins, and lower jaw.

After Mohawk passed his physical examination and the fishing gear was removed, photos were taken for identification and blood was drawn from both animals for analysis. Mohawk and her mother were then released into their habitat and were seen bow riding on the wake of a nearby shrimp boat within minutes of release (see photos).

Scarlet and George Colley continue to monitor the mother and calf pair down in South Texas.

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Photo Edit: TMMSN