Some of Royal Resorts members who were on vacation at The Royal Sands on March 31 witnessed the arrival of a surprise visitor from the sea, a sick female dolphin that had swum into the shallows, possibly in pursuit of fish, and beached herself. We are pleased to report that this is a rescue story with a happy ending.

The dolphin was rescued and nursed back to health by the vets at Dolphin Discovery. After a month of intensive care, Maya, as her rescuers called the female dolphin, was released back into the wild on April 30 to the north of Isla Mujeres. Thanks to a microchip, her rescuers have been able to track her movements in the wild since then and the latest map from May 15 revealed that she has swum far to the south, following the course of the Mesoamerican Reef to the Gulf of Honduras.


The Rescue

When the dolphin was spotted on March 31 it was clearly in distress, The Royal Sands lifeguards, guests and employees from the neighboring hotel Casa Turquesa tried to keep it cool while help came. Knowing that dolphins will beach themselves when sick or dying, Royal Resorts staff alerted Zofemat and Profepa biologists to the presence of the animal and Dolphin Discovery, which is part of marine mammals rescue network.

Dolphin Discovery vets were quick to arrive on the scene and determined that the animal, a female estimated to be around 25 years old, was very ill. The government biologists and vets decided that the best course of action was to transport her to the Tortugranja Park on Isla Mujeres for treatment.

After an examination and ultrasound study, the dolphin was found to be suffering from a serious renal disorder, kidney stones and mouth wounds and was very underweight. In her weakened state she had been unable to keep up with the rest of the dolphin pod and had swum inshore. The initial prognosis was not very encouraging and vets thought she might not survive.

   Once a course of antibiotics was administered, Maya, the miracle dolphin began to show signs of improvement and to put on weight. Finally, after a month of round the clock care, her custodians decided that she had recovered enough to be released back into the wild so that she could go in search of her pod or find another group of dolphins to join. Female dolphins are much more likely to be accepted into a different dolphin family.

A microchip was implanted in Maya’s dorsal fin and she was fitted with a satellite transmitter, a “dolphin first” for Mexico. This will enable vets to identify and track her at sea for up to 60 days. In fact, the Dolphin Discovery team has been monitoring her course 14 times a day. Initially she headed far out to sea, possibly in search of other dolphins, and more recently she has been following the course of the Mesoamerican Reef south from the Mexican Caribbean into Belize and the Gulf of Honduras.

Sources: Royal Resorts staff, Novedades, Dolphin Discovery