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Water-Related News

Scars of human folly show on Florida's bottlenose dolphins

By Stephen Nolgren

Bottlenose dolphins — those free spirits of the waves — are suffering from close encounters with humans.

At least four dolphins from Sarasota Bay's resident colony were struck by boats this summer, a new record. One calf is presumed dead.

In the Panhandle, epicenter of "swim with the dolphins'' tours, illegal feeding has trained generations of dolphins to associate boats with free meals.

Propeller scars illustrate the consequences, as do occasional brutalities from fishermen tired of dolphins stealing their catch. In June, one adult died with a screwdriver rammed through its skull.