Honor: 0    [ Give / Take ]


2 entries this month


Cutter’s Story...

10:40 Aug 21 2009
Times Read: 609

During the early evening hours of February 14, 2009 a young Atlantic Spotted Dolphin (Stenella frontalis) we have come to know affectionately as “Cutter” was rescued and brought to the (MMC) in Key Largo, FL for rehabilitation...

This is Cutter’s Story...

Cutter was first spotted swimming alone in small circles at the Trumbo Point Naval Base in Key West on February 5th.

MMC personnel responded and began observing him from sunup till sundown while authorities from the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) and MMC personnel decided what should be done. After a short period of time NMFS made the decision on February 11th that this young animal—underweight, peculiarly out of habitat and alone—needed rescue. Just before MMC’s rescue began, Cutter disappeared from the Naval Base harbor, only to be found hours later swimming in shallow waters on another part of the Naval Base, still alone. While MMC personnel watched, a pod of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins approached him and he joined them. Although known to intermingle for brief periods of time in the wild, Spotted dolphins and Bottlenose dolphins usually do not associate permanently. MMC personnel followed the group for approximately 4 hours until darkness set in, hoping that the young dolphin would be permanently adopted into the Bottlenose pod, even though we knew the odds were against him...The next confirmed sighting of Cutter was on February 14th, where he was found swimming alone once again, this time among large yachts at the Key West Yacht Club. MMC was alerted; we gathered our gear and headed South once again. An MMC staff member based in the Key West area had already been placed in the water with Cutter to start to desensitize him to human presence, and when we arrived the little guy was swimming circles around Mike as if he had always been there...Rescue nets were placed into the water and very slowly the area in which Cutter was swimming was decreased by making the net sweep smaller until Cutter literally floated into the arms of a staff member without any struggle.

Suffering from malnourishment and dehydration, Cutter made the transport from Key West to MMC’s rehabilitation site in Key Largo. It was during this transport that we first heard his signature whistle, or “name’, a sound "given" to each newborn dolphin just as humans are given our names. During Cutter’s stay with us he has shared his signature whistle time and again, and it is always heartwarming to hear...

Initially placed into a critical care pool, Cutter regained enough strength within 7 days to be placed into MMC’s natural sea water basin where he could once again hear all of the natural noises of the ocean. Soon after that, he was breaching and playing "seaweed games" with turtle grass, sargassum and floating leaves as he would normally do in the wild...From his first days with MMC, Cutter has captured the hearts of hundreds, if not thousands of people who have heard his story or have had the pleasure of observing him while noting his behaviors as part of their volunteer duties at MMC...Cutter is a typical young male dolphin--mischievous, playful, inquisitive, and even shy at times--looking to caregivers for protection as he would look to his mother and pod mates in the wild...He has also grown noticeably even in his short time with us. 35 pounds and a healthy status have not been his only gains—his personality, too, has expanded into a joyful repertoire of normal, healthy dolphin behaviors. We have also watched him begin to develop the spotted markings for which his species is known. While he doesn’t have many, to those who have had the honor of knowing him, each spot he has developed has been a milestone in his journey back to health...Cutter is estimated to be between 2 and 5 years old by veterinarians and experts who have studied Spotted dolphins for over 20 years, with most of these experts agreeing he is closest to the 2- 3 year old mark. At this age, he’s still a juvenile, but considered mature enough to have learned the skills he needs to survive in the wild WITH THE HELP OF A POD. After Cutter was deemed healthy enough by Staff veterinarians and husbandry personnel, MMC recommended to NMFS that Cutter be released and given a chance to succeed and live once again among his own kind. MMC has begun preparations for his release...Thanks to Dr. Denise Herzing, a specialist on Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, a pod of Stenella frontalis has been located near Key West. We are hoping this is Cutter’s original pod, and are planning to release him in the pod’s location in mid May...


Story by

Nicole Storm...



05:59 Aug 23 2009



May 12, 2009 - Cutter released...

10:22 Aug 21 2009
Times Read: 611

“Cutter” the young Atlantic spotted dolphin (Stenella frontalis) that spent nearly three months in rehabilitation with us at MMC, was released off Key West on Tuesday May 12, 2009... After searching for more than two days to locate a pod of Atlantic spotted dolphins with no luck, Tuesday morning the Wild Dolphin Project’s Research Vessel ‘RV Stenella’ reported they had located a pod of approximately 22 Stenella frontalis 4 miles due West of Key West in 130 feet of warm water...MMC husbandry personnel along with Staff Veterinarian Dr. Robert O. Stevens placed Cutter onto the ‘Sea Breeze,’ a 45 foot Corinthian of C and T Tours, and the team headed out to meet the ‘RV Stenella’ and the pod they were tracking. A small VHF radio transmitter was attached to Cutter’s dorsal fin before release to help researchers aboard the ‘RV Stenella’ follow him... About 10 miles to the southwest of the island, the ‘Sea Breeze’ slowly approached the starboard side of the ‘RV Stenella’ and both vessels traveled in synchronicity with each other. The pod quickly took to bow riding off of the ‘Sea Breeze.’After several minutes of observing their behavior to make sure they were comfortable with the new vessel’s presence, the ‘RV Stenella’ hung back to allow the entire pod to join the ‘Sea Breeze’ alone, playing in her bow wake or just ahead of her.Cutter was placed into position for release, the ‘Sea Breeze’ put her engines to idle, and with one large adult Stenella frontalis on the port bow and two large adult Stenella frontalis on the starboard bow, Cutter was released into the water between them.Consisting of calves, juveniles, and adults, the pod split into three groups after Cutter entered the water. The largest group of approximately 16 dolphins consisted of what seemed to be calves, juveniles and adults. We were unable to positively identify the age class of the other two groups. The larger group stayed with the ‘Sea Breeze,’ and Cutter was seen surfacing with two dolphins to her starboard side. We lost sight of the third group. Shortly thereafter we lost visuals on Cutter. Both vessels tracked the main and second groups for a time until Cutter’s signal became weaker. The ‘Sea Breeze’ stayed with the main group and the ‘RV Stenella’ turned to track a stronger signal...‘RV Stenella’ tracked Cutter’s signal through Friday evening, and we are all hoping he is with members of the pod and doing well!!!


Story by

Nicole Storm...



11:16 Aug 21 2009

that is an awesome record of cutters journey hun !! love it!!

23:16 Aug 21 2009

that's GREAT to hear! are you in the Keys?

© 2004 - 2024 Vampire Rave
All Rights Reserved.
Vampire Rave is a member of 
Page generated in 0.0492 seconds.

I agree to Vampire Rave's Privacy Policy.
I agree to Vampire Rave's Terms of Service.
I agree to Vampire Rave's DMCA Policy.
I agree to Vampire Rave's use of Cookies.