Rare Risso Dolphin Release
Funds Needed for Rare Risso’s Dolphin Release
Riverhead Foundation Begins Final Phase of Rehabilitation and
Sets off Fundraising Campaign for Release to the Wild
Date: November 11, 2004
Contact: Kimberly Durham, Rescue Program Director 631-369-9840
Robert DiGiovanni, Foundation Director/Senior Biologist
Fundraising efforts have begun for the release of Rocky, a juvenile male Risso’s dolphin rescued on July 31, 2004. Rocky was originally found struggling in the surf at Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware on July 31, 2004. After local resources could not be secured for life saving treatment Rocky was transported to the Riverhead Foundation’s marine mammal facility located at the Atlantis Marine World Aquarium. Following three months of close monitoring and life saving medical care Rocky has exhibited a strong will to survive and plans have now shifted towards securing preparations for his release to the wild.
Rocky is the first Risso’s dolphin ever to be rehabilitated in the nation and his release will be the only documentation of a successful reintroduction of this species to the wild. Prior to release Rocky will be equipped with a satellite tag that will provide never before recorded data on the movements of this rarely encountered species. Risso’s dolphins are large toothed dolphins ranging in size from 10-12 feet in length. They are generally silver-gray in coloration with distinctive linear scars along their dorsal and lateral surfaces. Risso’s dolphins are predominately an offshore species commonly found seaward of the continental slope. Their distribution has resulted in very limited encounters with these dolphins leading to an absence of data on behavior, reproduction and social organization.
The Riverhead Foundation anticipates the final stage of Rocky’s rehabilitation and release preparation to cost the Foundation over $50,000. Costs associated with Rocky’s medical treatment since July 31, 2004 have risen to over $90,000 and have taxed the Foundation’s operational budget just months away from the seal rescue season. Generous support from the Atlantis Marine World and Bayer Pharmaceuticals have assisted with some of the costs but the Riverhead Foundation is making an urgent appeal to the public for cash donations in any amount. Students from the Seneca Middle School eighth grade classes in the Social Studies, English, Art and Living Environment have begun a school wide fundraiser for Rocky’s continued medical care and release. This interdisciplinary project is set to engage students in creating slogans and posters encouraging the entire student body and staff to donate and help release Rocky.
A diary of Rocky’s road to recovery is available at www.riverheadfoundation.org. For additional information on how individuals and corporations can assist with Rocky’s recovery and release please call 631-369-9840. Video footage of Rocky feeding and playing within his tank are available upon request. This is a unique opportunity to view first hand the behavior of a dolphin very few have observed.
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