Now that we’ve concluded Billie the dolphin’s story, it’s time for a more detailed update on Wave (Billie’s tail walking predecessor).
First a recap: I found out about Wave in April of 2010 from an email that was sent out to marine mammal experts and fans looking for information on dolphin skin conditions. Wave and her calf Tallula were spotted in the Port River with horrible burns, which I wrote about in a post called Mysterious dolphin skin burn including a photo of Wave.
I asked photographer Paul Huxtable via email if he was aware of Wave’s burn and if he had any updates. Well, it turns out that Paul’s wife Debbie alerted marine biologist Dr. Mike Bossley to the situation, which led to the April 2010 email I read looking for information about dolphin burns. Small world!
A year and a half later, Wave and Tallula are doing well. Thankfully, Tallula healed completely, but Wave still has a slight remnant of the burn on her right side. The burn remains mysterious because no one figured out what happened. According to Paul Huxtable, “There are a number of theories emanating from marine biologists around the world who have studied the photos. They [theories] range from the effects of chemical burns from a location on the river, to hot water burns from industrial outlets, however none have been conclusively proven, so I guess we will never know.”
Paul emailed a photo (see above) Debbie took of Wave and Tallula two months into the healing process. At this point Tallula is already healed, while Wave still has a pretty large open sore. Although it’s much better than the original wound, which covered most of the upper right side of her body.
It’s great news that both dolphins recovered, but it’s a bummer that the case remains unsolved. This means that it could happen again, but hopefully it won’t! (For more photos of Wave’s original wound and healing progress, visit Debbie and Paul’s website and check out the Dolphin Injuries page.)