Spotted dolphin strands on South Walton Beach

July 27, 2009

Spotted dolphin stranded on South Walton beach. Photo courtesy Valerie Lofton, South Walton Turtle Watch
Spotted dolphin stranded on South Walton beach. Photo courtesy Valerie Lofton, South Walton Turtle Watch

Sad day for spotted dolphin

South Walton Turtle Watch volunteers had their hands full this morning as an adult male spotted dolphin became stranded in the Seacrest Beach area of eastern Walton County.

While walking the beach in the early morning hours, the volunteers were alerted by a tourist of something in the water.

Although the volunteers did their best to keep the mammal alive, the dolphin died.

According to Gulf World volunteers who arrived on the scene shortly after the discovery, it was quickly assessed that the dolphin was ill and injured before the stranding.

The Gulf World  volunteers took the dolphin back to the Panama City marine park for further testing.

About Spotted Dolphin
Color varies according to geographical location, age, and the individual. Generally speaking, these animals go through five color phases:
• newborn calves are dark gray with a white belly and no spots;
•  the color changes to two-tone, sharply divided, dark on top, light on belly and no spots;
• adolescent phase when dark spots begin to appear on the lower part of the body;
• Its beak is black and the lips and tip of the beak are white. A dark link extends from the middle of the lower jaw to the flipper and both eyes are circled in black with a black connecting line from each eye across the beak.

FINS AND FLUKE:  The dorsal (top) fin is tall and curved; the flippers are small and pointed. The flukes are small and pointed at the tips with a small median notch.

Length and Weight:   Length averages about 7 feet (2.1 m); weight averages 220 pounds (100 kg). Calves are 32 to 36 inches (80 to 90 cm) at birth.

Source: American Cetacean Society

To learn more about South Walton Turtle Watch, go to: seaturtlewatch.com

To learn more about Gulf World Marine Park, go to:
www.gulfworldmarinepark.com