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KEY LARGO (CBSMiami/FKNB) — Rescuers from the Florida Keys-based Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder retrieved five stranded spinner dolphins Saturday.
Four were found about 20 miles north of Islamorada in Florida Bay. A fifth was discovered in the bay, just off Lower Matecumbe Key.
All are showing signs of dehydration and were taken to DPMMR’s facility for initial treatment. They will be evaluated for transportation by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution to Sea World in Orlando for additional treatment.
Art Cooper, president of DPMMR, believes that Hurricane Hermine might have pushed the dolphins from their normal deepwater habitats to shallow waters, but he is uncertain that is the real reason for the stranding.
After rescuers returned to Key Largo with the first four marine mammals, they received subsequent reports of several other spinner dolphins in the same area as the first four were found.
But there was concern that not enough daylight remained Saturday to safely navigate the shallow waters to the stranding site and return to Key Largo.
Cooper said that a request has been made to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct an aerial survey Sunday morning to confirm that the other dolphins can be located.
Helping in the rescue were deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the National Park Service.
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