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Intervention ruled out for dolphin

A male dolphin named Namor at the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary (ADS) is in good physical condition and feeding and behaving normally, despite the presence of a lump on its side.

Experts have ruled out intervention for a dolphin with a lump on his neck in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary saying the dolphin is feeding and behaving normally and it would cause him considerable distress if rangers attempted to capture and potentially treat him.

A community dolphin observer wants Namor to be captured so the lump can be investigated and possibly treated.

But the independent expert marine mammal veterinary advice received by the National Parks and Wildlife Service is that the lump is no cause for immediate concern and intervention will cause the dolphin considerable distress, while also potentially causing risks to the people capturing him.  There could also be additional risks for the dolphin, including possible infection and death, from any surgical procedure.

Observers noticed a lump in late January on the dolphin, which they call Namor. 

Namor is classed as a transient ADS dolphin, meaning he spends time both in and out of the sanctuary. He is observed to be active and energetic and feeding and socialising normally.

Under the State Government’s Marine Mammal Intervention Policy, intervention or rescue is only considered in response to a human-induced injury or condition, and where intervention is a last resort. An example of this is the rescue in 2019 of a dolphin entangled in fishing line at the ADS.

While the ADS dolphins are much loved, they are still wild animals. Unlike animals in zoos, they are not accustomed to handling by humans. Using a net to capture and restrain a wild dolphin for the purposes of a biopsy would cause it considerable distress and could even be fatal if problems arose during the netting operation.

Rangers will continue to observe and monitor the dolphin, but, based on existing information, will not intervene.

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