Adelaide Port River dolphins: update on Wave

Photo credit: Debbie Huxtable

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.)


  1. kellie dodge & gabby lodge says

    Today being the 22/01/12 at 6am Gabby & myself took my horse Mavrick a 17HH standardbreed to the beach just past the brake water rocks where the boat ramp is at Osborne for a swim, we were in the water waist deep for about 10min and out of no where a Dolphin appered and was swimming with us and my horse for over an hour about 2ft from us the whole time. There was also a pod of dolphins about 30 meters away.
    We have since come home and done some reaserch about the Dolphins in the area and we think it could be Tallula as the fin and size of this Dolphin match the one we saw.
    Mavrick was so calm with the dolphin as was the dolphine with him, it was the most amazing thing that us girls have ever witnessed, they seamed to have some sort of connection that words cant discribe.
    We will be heading out same time same place next sunday being the 29th with my horse and Gabby’s horse Archie to see if the Dolphin will come swimming with us again

    • Carolyn Kraft says

      I was so excited to see your comment! Maybe this is the next generation of dolphins swimming with horses in the Port River?! Please keep us posted on what happens next Sunday!

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