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Scientists Assess Dolphin Health in Louisiana

August 24, 2011
Veterinary scientists take a blood sample from a dolphin

Veterinary scientists take a blood sample from a dolphin as part of an overall health assessment.

NOAA scientists and partners recently completed a 15-day capture and release dolphin health assessment in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. The study, a part of the continuing Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, gave scientists the ability to conduct a hands-on physical exam of individual dolphins to assess potential sub-lethal, chronic, and indirect health impacts of the spill. Learn more:

sampling in the water

NOAA's Fisheries Service: NOAA conducts dolphin health assessment in Barataria Bay, Louisiana

Over 50 veterinarians, biologists, and wildlife epidemiologists worked together to conduct comprehensive health evaluations of 31 dolphins during the study. Specially trained team members humanely encircled the dolphins by net, brought them to a medical vessel for a complete veterinary exam, tagged them with satellite and VHF radio tags, and then released them back into the wild.
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photographing a dolphins fin

NOAA's Response & Restoration blog: How Did the Deepwater Horizon/BP Oil Spill Affect Gulf Dolphins?

"A small fleet of boats left the docks at Grand Isle, La. at 7 a.m. Within 30 minutes, researchers had encircled two male dolphins with a net and jumped into the murky, waist-deep water to grab the dolphins and keep them calm during the checkup aboard a research vessel."
Full blog post