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Risso's dolphin at surface

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Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

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Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

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Is this dolphin family doomed?

Wave was one of the matriachs of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. She was born about 1992 and had the first (Bronny, a male) of her six calves in 2002. Her second calf (Ripple, a female) was born in 2006. Her last three calves all died and Wave disappeared after the death of her last calf in September, 2014. Wave is almost certainly dead.

Wave was famous for her tail walking and for surviving a horrendous injury in 2010.

About a week ago Ripple gave birth to her first calf, which we called Marea. We hope the calf survives but we noticed numerous lesions on thelittle dolphin’s head and we are gravely concerned, especially as Ripple was seen without the calf today.

And to add to our dismay, I just had a message that Bronny was found washed up on the shore of the Port River. At this stage we have no information on cause of death.

So in space of just a few years the death list is Wave (mother); four calves; and a “grand calf”. From a family of eight it seems there will be only two survivors. We did not manage to collect any of the dead calves but we do have Bronny’s body and we are hopeful the necropsy will give us information on the cause of death.

UPDATE: 11 February, 2015

Very sad update on our Adelaide dolphins… We did a survey today and located Ripple but there was no sign of her calf Marea. We are forced to conclude that Marea has died. There were two calves born in the Port River this summer that we know of and both have died.

To support our vital work with this fragile population and help us protect the remaining family members, please go to http://au.whales.org/adopt-port-river-dolphin