Mysterious dolphin skin burn

Photo credit: Barbara Saberton

Photo credit: Barbara Saberton

Australian dolphin experts and enthusiasts are baffled by a terrible skin condition that recently appeared on two bottlenose dolphins. The cow/calf pair, named Wave and Tallula, are well known locally and inhabit the Port River Estuary near Adelaide.

Photos of the severe skin problem were sent to marine mammal experts around the world, but no one has been able to identify the cause of the problem. According to a recent news article by the Portside Messenger, four theories are still being discussed including possible exposure to large amounts of fresh water, sunburn from stranding, caustic chemicals or a fungal infection.

Local researchers haven’t been able to take skin samples for fear of scaring off the calf, which can’t survive alone yet. Everyone is just hoping the dolphin pair will be able to heal and continue to lead productive lives. According to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, Wave is famous for her ability to tail walk, which is when a dolphin shoots straight out of the water and starts walking backwards along the surface. I really hope this terrible skin condition heals and that Wave will be able to moonwalk again soon. If anyone has any information on what could have caused this please contact me through the website and I will forward the information along.


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