Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

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

The TMMSN Organizes Successful Effort to Disentangle Baby Bottlenose Dolphin

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network lead a rescue effort of a young bottlenose dolphin calf estimated at 6 months of age with life threatening injuries from entanglement in fishing gear. The dolphin was initially reported in trouble at the Copano Bay Fishing Pier and TMMSN rescue staff and volunteers spent many hours tracking the animals and their behavior. In coordination with NOAA, the decision was made to intervene on behalf of the calf.

Based on the behavior data collected, TMMSN planned a detailed rescue and began gathering resources and equipment in order to successfully carry this out. Both the mother dolphin and her calf were captured by experienced personnel and handled carefully. The gear was removed from the calf and given a veterinary examination prior to release with her mother back into the wild.

The young dolphin was carrying a mass of monofilament line entangled with fishing lures, weights and a float. The monofilament line was wrapped around the body causing damage to the dorsal fin as well as the tail flukes and pectoral fin. There was also a line bridled to the mouth that was likely impeding the calf’s ability to nurse. Without this rescue effort, the calf would surely have died. TMMSN will continue to monitor the animal’s movements and condition over the coming weeks.

While TMMSN volunteers from Galveston and Corpus Christi made up the bulk of the labor and man power for this rescue, we also appreciate the kind help and assistance of local Rockport citizens, the Aransas County Sheriff's department which provided manpower and a boat, Sea World of San Antonio for veterinary care, and the Aransas County Navigation District. We also thank the National Marine Fisheries Service for their cooperation and assistance.

This rescue effort was funded by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, a non-profit 501(C)3 organization. We are able to carry out operations like these only by means of donations and grants and need your help in order to continue important work like this.