Featured Image Credit: Patrick Hardwood
A decade and a half ago, the worst concentrations of man-made carcinogens were found in the blubber of Charleston harbor dolphins. As a result, scientists pulled and tested some of the cetaceans to monitor the situation.
One of the dolphins tested was called “Number 864” in the federal dolphin health survey. 864 has been recently spotted swimming just off of Fort Johnson on James Island and seemed to be in surprisingly good health. This dolphin was originally found trapped in a crab pot line a decade and a half ago and is now 36 years old.
“The animals around here certainly do carry a not-so-insignificant amount of contaminants. Thirty-six, that’s impressive, I wish I could have seen him go by. Just being out there and swimming around, that’s something” says Eric Zolman, a National Ocean Service biologist.
According to sources including SeaWorld and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average lifespan for a bottlenose dolphin is 20’s to early 40’s.
Patrick Hardwood, a South Carolina State University communications instructor was the one would saw Number 864 nearby and was able to snap a photo.
“It definitely looked healthy and big, too,” says Hardwood.
Zolman mentions when he was attempting to free the animal from crap trap line that he thought it was going to be a lot of work but the dolphin was so exhausted that it didn’t struggle.
Fifteen years later, “it’s great to see he’s still out there alive and kicking,” says Zolman said.
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