Dolphin experts heading to CI
(CNS): Two marine mammal experts from NOAA and a specialist vet from Seaworld will be heading to the Cayman Islands from the US next week for a short visit to assist the Department of Environment (DoE) with the problem of Cayman’s rogue lone dolphin. As a result, the team is asking everyone in Cayman to call in any sightings over the coming days of the young male that has been attracting considerable attention over the last few months. As the experts are here for such a short time and will want to monitor and survey the dolphin's health and behaviour closely, the DoE needs to ensure they keep track of ‘Stinky’, as he has since been named, ahead of the important visit.
The three experts are offering their time free of charge; rooms for their stay have been donated by the Grand Caymanian and flights provided by the DoT.
The experts' goal will be to ensure that the young male dolphin is not suffering any health problems and to check if his behaviour is in line with that of other lone young males. They will be observing his behaviour as he interacts with people and trying to gain some insight. Once the assessments are made, the DoE hopes that the visitng experts, along with other marine biology specialists the department has been talking to, will help come up with a long-term solution to the problem the rogue dolphin poses.
“We understand that at present we are taking the right course of action by asking people to stay away from the dolphin and get out of the water if they are approached by him,” Gina Ebanks-Petrie stated on Friday morning as the DoE announced the forthcoming arrival of the US experts. “We are seeking a long-term solution but we need to know more about the dolphin in the first instance.”
She said the DoE was not expecting that there would be a quick fix to the problem, so it was important to keep up the warnings to swimmers and divers to stay away from the dolphin so they do not reinforce its sometimes aggressive behaviour as it attempts to make sexual advances to almost anything that moves in the ocean.
Janice Blumenthal, a research officer with the DoE asked everyone on the water this weekend to be extra vigilant and let the DoE know where the dolphin is. She also asked for any pictures or footage that has been taken of him to be sent to the DoE.
“We are not advocating that people film him but if they already have the pictures or video they would be very useful for our US visitors," she said. Older footage of previous dolphin sightings would also be welcome, Blumenthal added, as she said the DoE has still not been able to confirm if ‘Stinky’, who was first sighted in June, is the same lone male dolphin that has been reported in the North Sound on and off for several years.
The DoE team said anyone that has video and pictures of dolphins in local waters should email them to email@example.com and any sightings of the dolphin over the weekend can be called in on 949-8469
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