The boater who found the dolphin described it as a “solemn moment.”
“Very sad that this was the outcome for this animal who ended up in our little water community,” Joseph Johnson said. “It was a shame to see it.”
The aquarium did not initially rescue the dolphin when it was first spotted because it was “too risky.” The Risso dolphin calf was swimming freely in deep water making the rescue “unfeasible,” aquarium spokeswoman Jen Reardon said. The nearest dolphin rehabilitation facility is in Florida, which would have complicated the rescue even more.
Following the sighting, the aquarium gathered supplies and set up a rescue plan if the calf became stranded in a more accessible area like a shallow inlet. But the dolphin had not been seen since 7 p.m. the day it was first spotted.
“Although rare, unfortunately this is a reality of our work in the field of animal rescue, and as you can imagine this is heartbreaking for our team that spends each and every day caring for and rehabilitating animals,” Reardon said.