• They have a lot more to teach us.

    We've learned a lot with your help. But there's still so much we need to know to protect our wild dolphin neighbors.

    Give to dolphin research at the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

  • Sea Turtel sick and injured from fishing line

    You can stop this.

    Protecting marine wildlife is within your reach.

    When you give to put monofilament recycling bins within reach of conscientious boaters and anglers.

  • Harbor seal in need

    Save lives, reduce suffering, learn more.

    It's a win, win, win – when you support our Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

    Please give generously to the Cape Lookout Studies Program.

  • Cetacean Studies

    Inspire curiosity.

    What does it take to get students interested in science and conservation? Your help.

    Please give generously to support Cetacean Studies and the Bonehenge rearticulation project.

Posts Tagged ‘marine mammal stranding network’

Dolphin Epimelitic Behavior, Nov. 1, 2015

Written by Tursiops. Posted in bottlenose dolphin photo ID, Conservation, Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Sighting Report, Uncategorized

On Sunday, Nov. 1st, Katrina Smith reported a floating dead north carolina dolphin in the Newport River near the ICW at the Morehead Beaufort Yacht Club. Upon arrival, Vicky Thayer (NCDMF and NCSU CMAST) and Keith Rittmaster (NCMM) of the NC Marine Mammal Stranding Network noticed it was being supported and moved by another dolphin, a behavior termed “epimeletic”. After approximately 90 minutes of taking photos and video, and seeking help, they (with volunteer Nelson Owens) brought the dead dolphin carcass onto Lee Sykes’ TowBoat US boat near the Morehead/Beaufort high-rise bridge 5 kilometers from where it was initially sighted. After a brief examine, they put it in the CMAST freezer for future necropsy. The most interesting aspect about this case so far is that the dead dolphin, the one being supported and pushed, was a non-lactating adult female. This is unusual because such epimeletic behavior has often been directed towards dead calves, but not towards an adult dolphin as far as we know.

Both bottlenose dolphins are in the nc maritime museum dorsal fin photo-ID catalog, although neither has been seen often. An upcoming necropsy as part of our ongoing dolphin research will yield more information about the dead dolphin, and hopefully future sightings of the “pusher” will teach us more about that dolphin as well.TBUS-VT-NO-Tt-web-credit

VGT34701Nov2015epimeletic-web-credit

Tale of Two Teeth quiz

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Cetacean Studies

Here’s a quiz:  The two teeth in the picture below are from two different 33.5’ sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) that stranded in North Carolina.  Both teeth are a #10 (10th from the front) tooth from the lower jaw.  Why do you think there’s such a size difference between the Pm 33.5 teeth M&Ftwo teeth?  Check back tomorrow for a hint.

Young male bottlenose dolphin strands at Emerald Isle

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Marine Mammal Stranding Network

On October 19, 2012, a fresh dead bottlenose dolphin was reported floating near Bogue Sound at Emerald Isle.  NC Maritime Museum volunteers David and Bobbi Brown assisted Dr. Victoria Thayer from the NC Division of Marine Fisheries and NC Maritime Museum Natural Science Curator Keith Rittmaster in retrieving the carcass which was frozen for later analysis.  The carcass (#KAR030) was used as a valuable dolphin research and training tool for volunteers and students.  A careful exam and subsequent necropsy revealed fresh monofilament line scars from a gill net on all appendages of the otherwise healthy juvenile male bottlenose dolphin. The marine mammal stranding network reminds you to please make use of the fishing line recycle bins located along the coast.retrieving KAR030KAR030 rt pec linesgroup necr KAR030 capt

Stranded Sperm Whale on Cape Lookout Spit

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Bonehenge; Cetacean rearticulation, Cetacean Studies, Marine Mammal Stranding Network

sperm whalesperm whaleOn or before January 30, 2004 a 33½ foot male sperm whale washed ashore dead on the west (ocean) beach of Power Squadron Spit near Cape Lookout. The whale was closely examined by NOAA scientists and NC State veterinarians and others to try and determine cause of death but none was found.

 

sperm whalePortions of the whale will be saved for research and education.

 

 

 

  • sperm whaleAdult sperm whales range in length from 50-40 feet, males being longer then females. The size of the stranded whale, 33½ feet, may indicate this whale was a young male just past the age of being weaned.

 

 

  • sperm whale

    tooth

    Sperm whales have long life spans, some living as long as 70 years.

  • The blowhole on a sperm whale is located on the left side toward the very front of the head.
  • Teeth occur only on the lower jaw of a sperm whale. Some teeth have been measured at eight inches in length.
  • Sperm whales are deep divers of the ocean. A single dive might last from 30 minutes to an hour in length.
  • Sperm whales inhabit both the northern and southern hemispheres. These whales migrate north and south with the seasons within their respective regions.
  • sperm whale

    atlas

    Squids of various sizes are the primary food of these large whales; the largest of all the known toothed whales.

  • Parts of the sperm whale were once used by humans, making this whale one of the most frequently hunted whales during the peak of the whaling industry. Spermaceti, an oil located within the large head, was used for heating and lighting purposes. Some Scientists suggest that the spermaceti is used by these whales as part of their sound system. Ambergris, a waxy, gray substance formed in the intestines wherever a squid beak, the one hard indigestible part of the squid, occurs. Ambergris was used in the production of expensive perfume.
  • As of 31 December 1994, sperm whales were listed as endangered and depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

sperm whalesperm whalesperm whalesperm whalesperm whalesperm whalesperm whale

 

sperm whale

spermaceti

sperm whale

hyoid bone

sperm whale

spinal column

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry, a stranded bottlenose dolphin

Written by Tursiops. Posted in Marine Mammal Stranding Network

Jerry, a stranded bottlenose dolphin

June 14, 2003

On June 14, 2003 I (Allen), Tabbie Merrills, Hugh Wilde, and Buddy Nance, were loading Spyhop at the old Coast Guard docks when Tabbie saw a dolphin swimming in the Bight heading toward a shallow area. As we watched the dolphin swam up to the shore. At first we didn’t think much about this because we often see dolphins in shallow water feeding. But when some kids approached the dolphin from the shore and the dolphin appeared to remain in the same place we knew something was wrong. We immediately placed a call to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network to report a live stranding.

After talking with the local stranding coordinator, Gretchen Lovewell, it was decided to seek the advice of a veterinarian with the NCSU veterinarian school, Dr. Craig Harms. As luck would have it the Dr. Harms had kayaked to the Cape earlier that morning to climb the lighthouse and just happened to check his messages. We were all surprised to see him come kayaking up.

As Dr. Harms examined the dolphin we saw that a shark had bitten it and that it was listing to one side. It was a big dolphin and highly unlikely to have been bitten by a shark unless it was already weak. Dr. Harms thought this could be good candidate for rehabilitation so the decision was made to transport the dolphin to the NOAA Lab on Pivers Island.

We loaded the dolphin on to Haywood Holderness’s boat and transported the dolphin to Harkers Island where NOAA personnel Aleta Hohn , Annie Gorgone, Gretchen Lovewell, and Ari Friedlander from Duke met us. We loaded the dolphin into the back of a pickup truck, covered him with wet towels and transported him to the NOAA lab. Four of us rode in the back spraying him with water. At the NOAA Lab we unloaded the dolphin into a temporary pool. Dr. Harms took blood samples for analysis and tube fed him some liquids.

It was necessary for someone to be in the pool with him at all times to help him keep his head above water to breath and to keep him from listing to one side. Tabbie started contacting possible volunteers and making an around the clock schedule. We had volunteers from the local community, NOAA, Duke Marine Lab, NC Maritime Museum, and NCSU School of Veterinarian Medicine.

It was also necessary for us to provide some fish for him to eat. Hugh provided some frozen spots from his freezer. Leslie from William Smith Seafood in Beaufort kindly offered to help provide fish for food. Keith also provided some food, trashing his best cast net in the process. The dolphin would not eat so Dr. Harms made a fish slurry and tube fed him.

When the blood samples came back it was obvious that we had a very sick dolphin on our hands, but nobody gave up. Dr. Harms contacted the NCSU Veterinarian School and 2 veterinarian students came down from Raleigh to assist. Dr. Harms did everything possible to help the dolphin and spent countless hours with him, but he was an old sick dolphin and it was his time. When he died 3 days later, on June 17th, it was a sad time for all the people that had worked so hard to try and save him. The necropsy confirmed that he was a very sick dolphin.

Thanks to all the people that helped.