|Update on Kitty Hawk Porpoise|
by Mark MacAllister
July 13, 2007
On Tuesday, July 10, 2007, a male juvenile porpoise named "Orville" was released following a rescue and a four-month rehabilitation stay at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. A week prior to release, marine biologist Rob DiGiovanni affixed a SPLASH satellite tag so that the porpoise can be tracked as he moves through the ocean. The animal's sides were also marked with the number "621" for identification purposes.
The original stranding location was Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on March 1, 2007 (see Porpoise Beaches in Kitty Hawk). The first response to the stranding was by by NOAA FisheriesóBeaufort Lab, along with a team from the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program (VAQSP). Following twenty-four hours of monitoring at the VAQSP's stranding facility, the U.S. Coast Guard's Auxiliary from Virginia Beach flew Orville to the Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, New York. Rob Pisciotta and Rich Hanusch, veterinarians from the Riverhead Foundation, immediately examined Orville. They found several fractures in his ribs and vertebrae; these likely contributed to the porpoise's stranding.
Wendy Walton and Christina Trapani (VAQSP) assisted with the release. The Coast Guard and local marine law enforcement teams also helped out. Orville's release back to the wild went extremely smoothly. To see tracking and monitoring information on Orville, as well as some great pictures of his rehabilitation, be sure to visit the Riverhead Foundation's website.
Also, the WhaleNet website will soon be posting tracking data for Orville.
About the author:
Mark MacAllister is the Project Coordinator for Field