A young bottlenose dolphin dead with multiple entanglements

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Marine Mammal Stranding Network, monofilament recycling

            On October 7th, 2011, Kat Fourhman of the NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island responded to a stranding of a dead bottlenose dolphin on the shore of Roanoke Sound near Manteo, NC.  Paul Doshkov of Cape Hatteras National Seashore assisted with the investigation.  It was a 175cm (5’ 9”) male.  At that size he would have been around 2 years old, still nursing, growing fast.  Monofilament line from 2 different types of gill nets surrounded the rostrum and left pectoral fin.  Some of the line was imbedded in partially healed tissue.  The flukes (tail) had been cut off. 

            Subsequently, the head of the dolphin underwent a careful dissection in Morehead City by Emily Christiansen, Tres Clarke, Heather Broadhurst, Jill Sullivan, and Vicky Thayer of NC State University’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology and the NC Division of Marine Fisheries.  Keith Rittmaster of the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort then macerated the skull in

Lionel on rack rt

Skull and jaws of a stranded entangled bottlenose dolphin with monofilament fishing line embedded in the bone. Photo by Keith Rittmaster, NC Maritime Museum

water and horse feces for 9 stinky months.  Volunteer Mary Hunnings assisted him in cleaning the skull.  The skull is now used in displays and outreach programs to educate students, scientists, and citizens, and to promote the NC Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program.Lionel NCARI 011

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