Bottlenose dolphin battle for life
by firmm Team
Text: Eleonore Op De Beek Roosens, veterinary of firmm, Photos: firmm
On July the 28th, on the 16 hour dolphin and whale trip we encountered a group of Bottlenose dolphins and we saw what it appeared to be a mass on the skin in the blowhole of a young animal, smaller size than his fellow mates and clearly with a breathing problem do to this growth.
The growth on this site is not letting the animal breath well as it is obstructing the airways and with this tumour like mass if it would be of cancerous origin we suspect the animal will be suffering of a horrible death as cancerous tumours have the tendency to grow fast causing the animal to stick.
Non cancerous tumours, for example, papilloma’s also grow quite fast and studies proof that some wild dolphins are known to have these tumour like lesions on their skin, especially on the mucosa.
Another thing that was clear is the fact that the animal being so fragile was attacked by his fellows as he appeared with many teeth marks and wounded scars especially on the end point of the dorsal fin.
He was swimming next to a bigger animal that we suspect to be his mother who was trying to protect the sick animal especially from a big male that was trying to drown the poor young animal.
To observe this behaviour, although it seemed cruel and was definitely not easy to watch for us, is the way that nature deals with the more delicate and fragile animals by natural selection. In nature the weak ones are attacked as in nature only the strongest survive and reproduce to ensure strong and healthy offspring.
As a foundation for protection of these animals, we would like to help animals like this unfortunately dolphins are protected by law and even with our best intention of trying to save this animal we are not allowed to interfere with nature and its wildlife.
So once again, we find ourselves in this crusade of right and wrong…nature can be tough and as much as we want to help this beautiful animal in need, it is beyond our boundaries and therefore we must stay back and hope that the animal does not suffer too much….