Ginger, a bottlenose dolphin rehabilitated at Mote Marine Laboratory, is a mom again: the dolphin was spotted with a newborn calf on July 6 by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP). The SDRP has monitored Ginger, who lives in Sarasota Bay, since she was born in 2005.
After being stranded on Siesta Beach at just three years old, Ginger was rehabilitated at Mote’s Dolphin & Whale Hospital. When she arrived, she was dehydrated, covered with marks from scuffles with other dolphins and suffering from bronchopneumonia, a respiratory infection. The Mote team spent 1,320 hours helping Ginger recover, feeding her a diet consisting mostly of live fish so she'd remain as wild possible upon her eventual release from the hospital. "She ate nearly 4,000 pinfish," recalls Lynne Byrd, Mote's medical care and rehabilitation coordinator. "She was one of the most labor-intensive patients I've ever had the privilege to work with, and it was obviously well worth our effort."
Ginger made a full recovery and was released in early 2009 wearing a tiny radio transmitter to help the SDRP monitor her. Since then, she's thrived in our local waters.
“From the time Ginger was released, she has demonstrated her ability to reintegrate into the local resident dolphin community and engage in normal dolphin activities,” says Dr. Randall Wells, the director of SDRP.
This new dolphin calf is Ginger’s second. She gave birth to her first in summer 2015, but it disappeared within six months. According to SDRP, loss of first-born calves is not unusual for dolphins; however, the sight of the dolphin with her new calf "is a very good indication of successful treatment in rehab," Wells says. Good news, indeed.