Two adult Fraser’s Dolphins (Lagenodelphis hosei), one male and one female were found dead offshore by fishermen in a nearby town yesterday. They towed them back, as is protocol for examination by the local agricultural (and fisheries) office. Since the organization I work for conducted the stranding training for the local office, we were invited along.
The house me and my volunteers stay in belongs to the municipality and is already the resting place of one whale shark and two dolphins. The agriculture office arranged to transport the dolphins back ‘home’ and we were able to necropsy both before the sun went down.
Both had scars/wounds typical of being entangled in a fishing net. They also had several bite marks from another dolphin.
The female was still lactating, which isn’t good news for the orphan. However the fishermen reported that they see pods of Fraser’s whilst they fish everyday, so hopefully it was ‘adopted’!
The dolphins got a lot of attention whilst we were waiting for the transport back home. Questions answered included:
- What kind of fish is that?
- Can we eat it?
- Did you kill it?
I had never performed a necropsy before, and anatomy has never been my strong suit but I had the helpful hands of Roy, one of my volunteers, and the local Agricultural officer, my boss on skype to tell me what to do, and about 20 people to watch.
Turns out, it’s hard. Hard to remove the skin, and cut through the muscle - though this was most likely due to the utter failure of a knife we had available. And as obvious as the uterus should be, it was hiding from us. Even sticking your fingers up the dolphin’s vagina didn’t help. But the sun had pretty much set by that point.
I spent the rest of the evening cleaning up blood, soaking my flip flops and t-shirt, labeling samples and stomach contents, and collapsing on my bed.
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- kittenberry said: Hoping for the best for that orphan.
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