Bahamas Mama Bottlenose Dolphin
Dolphin Name Bahamas Mama (Female)
Species: Bottlenose Dolphin
Location Address the Treasure Island facility in the Bahamas
Type of FacilityOne of a dozen captive dolphins in a “Swim with the Dolphins” program
Age At least 17 years in captivity
The dolphin herself organized her own escape,one day she leaped the fence of her pen to freedom. During the same time EarthWatch was running an expedition in the Bahamas (paying volunteers join a scientific research team as part of a working vacation) Their project was to photo-identify and take a census of the wild dolphins in the region by taking pictures of their dorsal fins. A few days into the project they encountered Bahamas Mama. The project researchers immediately recognized her because they had photo-identified her a year earlier while she was still in captivity. She looked healthy. Her wild companions kept their distance and waited for her. Over the next two weeks, Bahamas Mama was spotted several times. Each time with a different group of wild dolphins, clearly a welcome member of the local dolphin community.
History A long history of swim-with-dolphins and captive scenarios.
Date of Release 1992
Condition at Point of Release(escape) Healthy
Post Release Follow Up
No official follow-up occurred, however this dolphin was positively photo-identified up to eight months after release in the company of wild dolphins in the Bahamas. Assumed returned to native habitat.
Clear example of how each dolphin must be individually treated on a case by case basis ,each individual dolphin is different. This individual had obviously received no preparation for her release (Claridge, 1992) through a carefully planned rehabilitation project , but demonstrated strong will for her own freedom.
Also a striking example of cetaceans remarkable abilities to adapt to different situations as well as instinctive skills. Bahamas Mama escaped from captivity ,re-adapted quickly with wild dolphins and remained unaffected from pathogens. Earthwatch researchers observed her freely associating with a group of seven dolphins, including a calf. She was positively identified by her former facility.
- Dolphins and the case of the mental patient, article by
- Balcomb, K.C. 1995. Cetacean Releases. Centre for Whale Research, Friday Harbour, WA.
- Claridge, D.E. and K.C. Balcomb, 1993. In search of marine mammals. Bahamas Naturalist,Vol7(l):11-17.)Documents a successful reintroduction to the wild of a bottlenose dolphin which had spent seventeen years in captivity.