KEY LARGO (CBSMiami) – Three stranded spinner dolphins were rescued Monday from shallow waters of Florida Bay, north of Islamorada in Everglades National Park.
All showed signs of severe dehydration with second- and third-degree burns caused by overexposure to the sun for a long period of time, according to Art Cooper, president of the Florida Keys-based Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder.
They were transported to Key Largo and all were evaluated by a marine mammal veterinarian who concluded the dolphins had a poor prognosis. The dolphins were humanely euthanized to avoid additional suffering.
Marine Mammal Responder personnel rescued five spinner dolphins on Saturday. Of those, two were transported by the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution to Sea World in Orlando for additional treatment. One died Sunday and another was in critical condition Monday. The other three were euthanized Saturday.
Cooper said one additional spinner dolphin was discovered swimming strong Sunday in a Conch Key canal in the Middle Keys. DPMMR staffers, in a boat, were able to guide it to the ocean.
Cooper believes that Hurricane Hermine, which passed far off the Keys last week, might have pushed the dolphins from their deepwater habitats in the Gulf of Mexico to shallow waters, but he is uncertain that is the real reason for the strandings.
Cooper said that all animals euthanized in Key Largo are to be necropsied by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries with hopes to find a reason for the strandings.
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.