This April, exactly the kind of coastal Dolphin Photo ID coordination we hope for unfolded with Dolphin FB438 – FB indicates he/she has a freeze brand and that the number is 438. Here is his history that we know so far:
Sept. 14, 2003 – he was tagged and freeze branded in New Jersey waters.
March 4, 2004 – he was sighted off Ocracoke, south of Hatteras Inlet in North Carolina.
April 12, 2004 – Duke University staff or students saw him/her in Frisco, North Carolina.
Feb 20, 2005 – Duke University saw him by Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. and then
April 28, 2009 – We saw him off Shackleford Banks, about mid-way, off Beaufort, North Carolina, with 12 other dolphins. This is the farthest south he has been sighted that we know of. Most of us are not able to be out on the water
‘Photo ID ing’ every day, so he may have around much more often and/or even further south or north. If we are able to ID some of the other dolphins in the group of 12, in the future we will want to see if s/he is with any of the same dolphins again. If the dolphins have smooth fins with no nicks, indentations or marks that are permanent we can not ID them. They will often have scrape marks or superficial scars but these come and go and can not be used for long term ID. The holes you can see in dorsal fin are the result of a satellite tag that was placed on the dolphin at the same time it was freeze branded.When the tag came off, it left the holes. My understanding is that the area is anesthetized locally before the tag is attached. The people who have watched the procedure, report that there seems to be no reaction from the dolphin from any part of the process.
photos by Keith Rittmaster
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