Tuesday, February 20, 2007

FLORIDA : Key Largo - Marine Mammal Conservancy - Update on "Castaway" the Dolphin.

"Hearing tests confirm Castaway is deaf." -

Castaway the dolphin's future likely will be determined today, when official hearing tests results are released and conference calls are planned among veterinarians and marine mammal experts.
David Mann, an assistant professor with University of South Florida who specializes in auditory systems of fish and marine mammals, conducted a hearing test Monday on the pregnant, bottlenose dolphin that stranded in Vero Beach at Castaway Cove in November and refused to be released off Fort Pierce last month.

Once the official report is released, Lingenfelser said he will be in conference calls with officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service, who determine where the dolphin will stay and whether she will have her calf at the small Keys facility.
Experts also will begin discussing what exactly caused Castaway's deafness, he said.

Lingenfelser said the cause of Castaway's hearing problems won't be known until she dies and veterinarians can perform a necropsy, or autopsy for animals. Along with drug complications, it could have been a stroke or a brain aneurysm, he said.
No hearing tests were performed at Mote because it is federal policy not to test pregnant dolphins, he added.

If Castaway is considered non-releasable by federal officials, Lingenfelser said he would prefer officials move Castaway to a public display facility before she gives birth.
Otherwise, she and her calf would have to stay at the conservancy for months, closing it to other stranded animals that need rehabilitation, he said.
But regardless, she and her calf will be able to live long lives, Lingenfelser said.
"We don't euthanize animals, not unless they're suffering," he said. "Whoever takes her on should be applauded. We'll take care of her, no worries."

More Info. on the Marine Mammal Conservancy http://www.marinemammalconservancy.org/

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