Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

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

LA06 - Winkie


Species: Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus
Age Class: Adult
Gender: Male
Date of Stranding: Reported March 13, 2006
Location of Stranding: Vermilion Parish, LA
Duration of care at TMMSN:
Final Disposition: Released
LA06 - Winkie

    On March 13, 2006 (following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita), a bottlenose dolphin was reported trapped in a small creek draining Rollover Lake in the Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge in Vermilion Parish, LA. The animal would not pass over a water control device that stretched across the creek. Initial observations describe the animal as swimming up to the control device, stopping and then turning around. This behavior was observed on the day of the capture as well.
    The 222 cm male appeared to be in excellent body condition suggesting its ability to feed regularly. In contrast to the previous six dolphins in Louisiana, this animal was found in a natural waterway with daily tidal flushing, although salinity was only 10 ppt at the time of capture (tide was going out).
    While it is possible this animal became trapped more recently than post-Hurricane Rita, the only way for it to get in was over the metal barricade that it refused to cross to get out, or to have been carried inland by storm surge and subsequently trapped. If the latter, the fact that it was a clean, natural waterway with apparently sufficient prey resources may have allowed it to survive so much longer than the other animals.
    This animal was captured using the net and transported by flat-bottom boat two miles down the waterway for release to the Gulf of Mexico.