Dolphins Release A History-Maker

Seven more of the dozens of dolphins who mysteriously beached themselves at the Florida Keys in early March have been nursed back to health and released back into the wild.

The Early Show resident veterinarian Dr. Debbye Turner took part Tuesday in the largest release of rehabilitated marine mammals ever.

Turner says emotions ran high during the release, since everyone knew the journey back to sea for seven rough-toothed dolphins started in pretty rough waters.

On March 2, some 70 deep-water dolphins inexplicably beached themselves near Marathon Key. More than half died from the stress of being in shallow waters. The survivors were sent to three marine centers. One of them is the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo.

"When we first get the animals in, we do diagnostic evaluations for their health," explains conservancy Vice President Lloyd Brown.

No one is sure why the dolphins beached themselves. But Dr. Bob Stevens, a marine mammal veterinarian, has a theory: "They're a tight group socially, so when one has trouble and needs to come into a beached situation, just to breathe, some of the others may come along (who are) totally healthy, just for support."

Fifteen of the dolphins brought to the conservancy didn't make it. But seven of the remaining twelve were up to being released.
  • Brian Dakss

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