FACT OF THE WEEK: Can’t Touch This

FACT OF THE WEEK: Zoonotic disease Brucellosis found shared between marine mammals and humans.

MORE ON THIS: Zoonotic diseases are those which can be passed between humans and animals. Brucella spp. is the genus of bacteria which causes the zoonotic disease Brucellosis, and can be found in numerous domesticated livestock and wild animals. The Brucella strain in domesticated animals has been eradicated in most industrialized countries, but unfortunately, in developing countries, it is still an issue. The disease has also been found in marine mammals, particularly recorded in dolphins, seals and sea lions. Symptoms in each terrestrial or marine mammal vary, and acquiring the disease can be done by ingesting the bacterium or by touching an open wound.

Spotted dolphin with a lesion

Dolphin with an open wound

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Bottlenose dolphin in Maalaea Harbor

Unexpected sighting: a dolphin in Maalaea Harbor

The research team did not have to go far on July 3rd to spot a dolphin. There was one swimming around Maalaea Harbor! It looked like a sub-adult, meaning it was not fully grown. We photographed it following our protocol, and this week searched for a match within our bottlenose dolphin catalog, but this individual had not been photographed previously by our researchers. When we were examining the photos, we noticed a lot of tooth rake scars on the posterior (back) half of its body – perhaps it was seeking shelter from another dolphin or predator, it was curious, or maybe it had simply gotten lost. The team watched for a while and eventually the dolphin followed another boat out of the harbor.  Teenagers are always getting into trouble!

Rake Marks Photoshopped

Adopt Pa’ani the “playful” dolphin

On Friday, 01/24/2014 at 1:56 pm we had a resighting of Pa’ani, one of the dolphins in our Adopt a Dolphin program. She was part of a pod of seven bottlenose dolphins encountered by our Research Team.

Two of the dolphins were females with their young. Pa’ani had a juvenile dolphin tucked in next to her who was also seen with her last year.

“Pa’ani” means playful in Hawaiian. This dolphin is easily recognized by the distinct shape of the trailing edge of her dorsal fin.

With a donation of $25 or more, you can adopt Pa’ani, and in the process, you will be helping to support research, education and conservation programs to protect all dolphins and whales in the Pacific Ocean.

Find out more details about our whale and dolphin adoption program.