Yesterday’s new episode of “Sea Rescue” hosted by “Good Morning America” weatherman, Sam Champion was titled “Body in the Water.” This show is a Saturday morning treat for the entire family. The dedicated staff at Sea World will go to all lengths to ensure the safety of marine animals.
When Melbourne, Fla. police receive several calls about a body in the Indian River lagoon, the body they found was not a person, but an endangered species of loggerhead sea turtle who was in trouble. These turtles are rarely found at the surface of the water except to breathe, then they dive down in search of food. They usually eat clams, crabs and other shellfish, so to see one remaining on the surface of the water; they knew he was in trouble. When the police helicopter reported the incident, two police boats came to the rescue. At 160 pounds, it was difficult to bring him onto the boat. Finally, they placed him in the care of the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. Because he was in such bad condition, he was taken directly to Sea World in Orlando.
They ran several tests on him to determine what was ailing him and called him Lazarus after the biblical character who was raised from the dead. A healthy sea turtle can stay under water for about a half hour, but it seems that this guy was unable to dive for over a week.
After a long term of antibiotics, Lazarus finally regained his appetite and ability to dive and remain below the surface of the pool he was in. After six long months, he was declared able to be returned to the water off Cocoa Beach. Special guests assisted in his return, the Melbourne police that rescued him and many who helped in his rescue and rehabilitation were on hand to help put him on the beach and watch him enter the water and go on his merry way.
When a baby dolphin is caught in fishing line in Corpus Christi, Texas, fishermen report it to the 24-hour stranding hotline. It is a very serious entanglement. Monofilament fishing line is wrapped tightly around his fin, his tail and through his mouth hindering his ability to swim. Volunteers kept an eye on his whereabouts, and his mother would not leave his side. They came to feed near the pier at night, but their location during the day was much harder to pinpoint. Finally, they got lucky and were able to spot mother and calf early in the morning.
The rescuers had a job on their hands, rescuing the baby while his very protective mother went to find food. The rescuers had just one chance to save him, because if they spooked them, they may never return to the area. As they sealed the cove off, so they could not get away, the mother became agitated, and it took six rescuers to hold her and let her see that nobody was about to hurt her baby. The entanglement was so severe, that his dorsal fin was nearly cut in half. As the rescuers rushed to remove the fishing lines and sinkers, they also gave him a powerful shot of antibiotic to help in his healing. When they finally released them, a double rainbow appeared in the sky as a signal that all would be fine.
Dolphins are adaptable and have been known to survive well after losing their entire dorsal fin, so they know this little guy will be just fine thanks to the efforts of all who helped him on this episode of “Sea Rescue.”
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