Harold the manatee is still here, plus we got a winter glimpse of several bottlenose, White Blotch (#029), her 4-year old calf and....a brand new neonate!! When dolphins are first born, their dorsal fins are folded across their backs, their flukes are folded and they have creases along their body called fetal folds. On Monday’s dolphin trip, we were lucky enough to get a glimpse of a neonate whose dorsal fin was still curved completed across its back. Typically the dorsal fin straightens within 24-48 hours of birth --- this is officially the youngest wild dolphin I have ever seen!! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a good look at the mother, but it is always good to see new calves in the Bimini population!

 

I hope 2009 brings more exciting observations!

 

Happy New Year,

Kel

Bimini manatee map 18 Dec

 

Thanks to the folks at USGS we are able to utilize satellite tracking to remotely observe the manatee’s movements. The points shown in this map are not entirely accurate, but they do show us the general movement pattern and, more importantly at the moment, that animal is still near Bimini. Read more: Harold the Manatee heads south...but only by a little

 Well, I guess more accurately DCP is assisting with and observing manatee research. What a treat! The Bimini Manatee (“Harold” for now) is still in the area. A biologist from US Geological Survey has kindly come to Bimini to increase our research efforts. The manatee was a no-show on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, which had us wondering if he was gone for good. But, Sunday morning, there he was! The USGS biologist was able to first confirm the sex (male!), collect a tissue sample (for DNA studies) and collect a second fecal sample (they can learn all sorts of stuff from this!). Then, on Monday, he was able to place a radio/satellite tag on the animal! It was so exciting! We tracked the animal through Bimini’s harbor to the northern-most marina. He isn’t too upset by the tag; it looks big, but when it’s a 1200 pound animal towing it around, it isn’t much of a bother.

 

 I’ll post some new photos soon!

-Kel

 Bimini08 Manatee Grant Johnson

 

I don’t have much new to report on the status of Bimini’s manatee, but I hope you all enjoy the newest photo (taken on Thursday by G. Johnson). The manatee continues to spend part of its day at Sea Crest Hotel & Marina. Representatives from the Miami SeaQuarium’s manatee rescue program were kind of enough to pay us a visit to better assess the manatee’s condition. We continue to pursue options for a possible rescue & transport – more details on that soon. For now, I’m calling our mystery manatee Harold...Anyone else have any suggestions?

 

Remember, if you’d like to name one of Bimini’s Atlantic spotted dolphins join the auction now!

 

-Kel

Bimini manatee w hose

 

The Bimini manatee is still being observed periodically throughout the day. It does not appear to be in poor health, however Bimini is not considered suitable habitat for manatees. We’ve been in discussions with the US Fish & Wildlife Service as well as the Bahamas Department of Marine Resources. FWS has been giving advice on what to look for and how to act around the animal. Here, you can see the animal drinking freshwater from a hose. Please note that we have only given this wild animal fresh water at the recommendation of knowledgeable manatee biologists. This advice is specific to this case and no one should generally interfere with a wild marine mammal on their own. 

I’ll know more tomorrow (hopefully) about a potential rescue and transport plan. 

Check back soon!

Kel

 

Manatee muzzleYou weren’t sure if you should believe my manatee story yesterday, were you? Well, the manatee was again sighted, this time it was closer and there were more witnesses. It does not appear to be injured or in distress, despite being clearly off course. We’ve been advised by Florida Fish & Wildlife to keep a close eye (when it’s around) and not to give it food or water. Perhaps tomorrow it will make another appearance and even be cooperative enough to let us photograph its tail for comparison with the photo-ID catalog of Florida manatees –photo-ID isn’t just for dolphins!  Here, if you look closely, you can see the manatee’s muzzle out of the water for a breath of air. 

And of course, don’t forget to check out our Name-A-Dolphin auction (see post below)... 

-Kel

 Bimini manatee

This morning began quite ordinarily enough and soon there was a group of tourists wandering the beach. As we peeked out the window to admire the late morning ocean, we spotted a long, dark shape moving slowly south. The wrong shape to be a dolphin, the wrong shape to be a shark, we found ourselves wondering if it could possibly be....a manatee. Read more: A Bimini Field Report: Without Dolphins

 Bimini Tt Sept 08

 

Yesterday I was able to get a quick glimpse of a small group of bottlenose, just off Bimini’s coastline.  I captured photographs of 4 different individuals, including the one pictured here.  This animal is likely new to our catalog! Read more: A quick glimpse of Bimini bottlenose

Kelly here, reporting from Bimini.  I’ve had a few concerned emails sent my way lately, so I just wanted to let everyone know that the folks on Bimini (myself included) are doing all the necessary precautions as hurricane season is in full force.  We were lucky to have only a bit of rain as Gustav headed up the Gulf of Mexico, some wind & rain as Hanna stayed to the east and now it is looking like Ike will miss us all together and Josephine has fallen apart.  So, we may be in the clear for the moment.  Our thoughts go out to all of those already affected by this season’s storms and we hope that everyone in risk areas takes all the precautions they can. 

-Kel

Bimini Tt 22 Aug 08

 

Well, Tropical Storm Fay finally left us.  She didn’t do any damage, but she did keep us off the boat for 5 whole days!!  We were able to make up a bit of lost time with trips on Friday, Saturday & Sunday.  We saw a few bottlenose dolphins, including the bottlenose pictured here, and lots of spotteds.  I need to take some time, as always, to see if this is new mark on an “old” dolphin or if this is in fact a new animal for our catalog!

  Read more: Can the Bimini field season really be over?

Hello from Bimini!  Yesterday we headed out a little late, but we were able to observe scattered spotted dolphins.  No single group was larger than 7 animals, but every time 1 sighting ended, we would move on and another sighting would begin!  It turned into a 6 sighting day & included Tina (#14), Billy (#64), Stefran (#82) and un-named #75 & 86. 

This morning I woke to patchy thunderstorms, but more importantly everyone here is keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Fay.  It doesn’t look like we’ll get a direct hit, but it may be just enough wind to keep us off the water.  I’ll keep everyone updated & wish everyone who is dealing with Fay good luck & safety. 

Until next time,

Kel

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