(Photo taken during Roxanne’s rescue)
There have been many questions surrounding Roxanne’s rescue and release. Ocean Advocate News spoke with Kim Durham, Rescue Program Director of Riverhead Foundation, to gain more information and a better understanding of what goes into Roxanne’s rehabilitation and release.
The decision for Roxanne to be a rehabilitation candidate was originally made by NOAA Fisheries after she was reported to the hotline. She was found thrashing on a sandbar in approximately 2 feet of water east of the Fire Island Inlet in the Great South Bay. She came in weighing 603 lbs and very thin. Her initial physical exam revealed dehydration and gastric hemorrhaging. She was given fluids and started to eat squid on her own later that night.
Since her rescue, Roxanne has gained over 100 lbs by eating 75 lbs of squid per day. This costs the foundation $200 per day. The total cost for her rehabilitation is estimated at $150,000.
The Riverhead Foundation is the only facility in the NE or SE regions, other than in Florida, to have the resources available to rescue cetaceans. The only other option would be euthanasia. They were the first to successfully released another Risso dolphin, Rocky, back in 2005. For more information about Rocky you can visit the website.
The cost of the release being requested is to cover the vessel cost, ground transportation to the release site, and reconstruction/repair of the crate to transport her. The wooden crate has endured water damage. Funding is also needed to repair her rescue sling so that it will be ready to use for the next rescue. They also need ongoing funding to repair their dolphin ambulance and it’s cabinetry, which has become damaged.
Riverhead Foundation just received authorization yesterday from NOAA Fisheries to proceed with the release of Roxanne. They have targeted August 28-29 as her release window even though continued funding is necessary. The foundation will need to dip into their reserve funding, knowing that turtle and seal rescue season is quickly upon them as well.
The vessel, Stony Brook University SOMAS RV Seawolf, has already been secured for the release. This vessel has the ability to transport the crate to the release location and offers the best alternative for sliding Roxanne off the stern.
Riverhead Foundation, and in particular this release, should be celebrated for their willingness to continue these costly rescues. The bottom line is that if it weren’t for them, Roxanne would not have survived. Roxanne will be the 4th successful rehabilitated and released Risso dolphin ever!
Riverhad Foundation does not want to keep Roxanne for display as other marine facilities often do. They are a true rescue, rehabilitate and release program and Ocean Advocate News fully supports their efforts to release Roxanne.
Please continue to do what you can to support Riverhead Foundation and Roxanne’s release.