Newsday@Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium: Dolphin’s Death Offers Reminder to Watch Out Wildlife

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For Immediate Release: Newsday@Mote 7-1-14

Holiday Note
Happy Independence Day!

As we celebrate the holiday, Mote’s research and administration offices will be closed on Friday, July 4. If you need immediate assistance with a media query during the holiday or weekend, please contact Hayley Rutger,  [email protected], 941-374-0081, or Nadine Slimak, [email protected], 941-302-4997.
The Aquarium at Mote Marine Laboratory will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on July 4 and is open 365 days per year at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota.

Reaching a Mote Expert

We encourage members of the media to meet in person with Mote experts and, when possible, to join us in the field as we conduct research projects. If you are a member of the media covering marine topics, the best way for you to connect with Mote experts is to contact a member of the Communications staff who can help make these connections happen.

Turtle Nesting Season Updates

Dolphin Death is a Reminder to Protect Marine Life

‘Squiggy’ was one of the oldest Sarasota Bay dolphins

One of the oldest dolphins in Sarasota Bay died June 7 after ingesting fishing gear. This loss serves as a reminder to protect marine life while enjoying our coastal waters and beaches over the July 4 holiday weekend and year ’round.

The 58-year-old female dolphin nicknamed Squiggy was recovered dead and examined by staff from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Squiggy was emaciated and she had three large fishing hooks in her stomach and one in her mouth that was attached to 11 feet of heavy monofilament line, along with healed scars from previous entanglements. She was known to spend time near Venice, including areas with frequent boat traffic.

Squiggy was first identified in September 1980 and was documented 267 times since then by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP) – a collaboration between Mote Marine Lab and Chicago Zoological Society. SDRP staff have continued monitoring Squiggy’s descendants, who have also suffered impacts from human interactions. Squiggy’s daughter died in 2012 from ingesting recreational fishing gear, and the daughter’s 6-month-old calf died several weeks later after losing her mother. Squiggy’s first grand-calf died from entanglement in a crab trap’s float line.

Currently, the dolphins of Sarasota Bay are at the height of calving season. Five babies have been born this year and one died for unknown reasons. During this time of year, it’s important to be vigilant for dolphins and other wildlife as well.

  • Manatees are also on the move for reproduction and foraging, and sea turtles are swimming just offshore to mate and coming ashore to nest.
  • All marine mammals and sea turtles are protected by federal law, and all the species living along Southwest Florida face significant risks from human interactions.
  • According to Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program — a 24-hour response service for marine mammal and sea turtles in Sarasota and Manatee counties — about 25-30 percent of all animals rescued or recovered by Program staff were affected by human interactions such as boat strikes and fishing gear. Typically, dolphins are more likely to be harmed by fishing gear and sea turtles are more likely to be struck by boats.

Please share with your audience: Tips to keep wildlife safe on the water





Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Mote has 24 research programs and a variety of initiatives dedicated to today’s research for tomorrow’s oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. Mote’s vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is The Aquarium at Mote, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at

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Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, Fla., 34236. 941.388.4441

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