Beached Dolphins Make Full Recovery and Return to the Gulf of Mexico

The two rescued dolphins were transferred to a veterinary facility in Telchac Puerto, where they completely recovered. Photo: Courtesy

After eight months of rehabilitating them, marine biologists in Dzilam de Bravo returned two beached dolphins to the ocean. 

The dolphins were first spotted on the shores of Telchac Puerto, alive but in poor health.

After calling environmental authorities, three unsuccessful attempts were made to help the animals return to their habitat. 

“The dolphins both were severely ill and dehydrated and simply could not make it home without our help, so we intervened and ensured they got the best attention possible,” said Raúl Díaz Gamboa of Yucatán’s University marine biology department. 

Both specimens, which turned out to be female, appeared to suffer from intestinal issues. They recovered after a few weeks but were kept for observation inside a special facility to help them gain back their weight. 

Both animals measured roughly nine feet long, about average for female bottle-nose dolphins. Photo: Courtesy

Earlier: What is behind the growing number of dolphins washing up on Yucatán’s shores?

Dolphins can contract bacterial infections from ingesting contaminated water or prey, leading to gastroenteritis or affecting their immune systems, which are then attacked by viruses such as distemper or morbillivirus.

It is not exactly clear how the dolphins got sick in the first place, but given the increase in the number of diseased dolphins found on Yucatán’s shore over the past few years, experts are beginning to sound the alarm. 

It has also been suggested that the dolphins’ illness could have been caused by bacterial blooms, which have dramatically increased in the Gulf of Mexico over recent years and are also responsible for increased levels of sargassum

Over the past year, large amounts of sargassum have washed up on the shore of locations previously relatively untouched by the algae, such as the theme park Xcaret in the Riviera Maya. Photo: Dani López

Regardless of the cause, the marine biologist caring for these two specimens said they felt overjoyed to see the dolphins recover and return to their habitat.

The scientists also pointed out that any animals found in distress on the coast should alert environmental authorities at the 070 phone hotline, as attempts by nonexperts can often do more harm than good. 

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy, and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.
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