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Avid outdoorsman and underwater photographer, Barry Brown has spent the last 12 years documenting life above and below water in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. He is currently working with the Smithsonian Institution documenting new Caribbean deep-water species and building a one of a kind database. His underwater images can regularly be seen in Sport Diver, Scuba Diver and on the Ikelite website. His image of a "Collage of Corals" seen under blue-light at night recently placed in the TOP 10 images for the 2014 NANPA (North American Nature Photographers Association) photo contest.

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Jul 22, 09     Comments Off on Stranded Pilot Whale in Curacao
Pilot Whale stranding

Pilot Whale stranding

Hello everyone, Aimee here.  This is one of the few times I have even sat down at the computer for the last week.  This is what Emily and I have been up to!  Last Tuesday (during Barry’s operation) the aquarium received a call that there was a stranded pilot whale in the Jan Thiel/Zanzibar area.  So, George (the only man in the photo) drove the boat over to check out the situation. We did not know if it was dead or alive, injured or sick, young or old.  The Curacao Sea Aquarium/Dolphin Academy recently established the Southern Caribbean Cetacean Network (SCCN) and George is the head of it.  It has been made for just this type of situation.  So, we got our first opportunity to set the wheel in motion.  Wow, what a start!  George was able to tell pretty quick that it was a juvenile and that it did not have any big injuries and was very, very thin.  It was nightfall so we decided to get there bright and early in the morning with an entire emergency team.  The next morning we were able to catch him and get a real close look to see what we were up against.  The number one problem was that he was extremely dehydrated and emaciated.  He was just too weak and tired to swim on his own.  This species is one that runs in groups of 5-20 normally, so a lone animal would not be able to survive for long.  We have no idea where his group is.  That is just a missing piece of our puzzle.  So, our plan was to give him fluids (fresh water: whales and dolphins don’t drink salt water, they get fresh water from the fish that they eat), take some blood and get him some antibiotics.  We had to support him (we found out days later it was a him), by standing in the water for hour after hour.  It only took a short time for us to realize that he was too large for us do hold on our own and then Bam, we saw a momma on the beach with her little one playing with a noodle!  Yea!  We asked if we could use it and she gladly let us have it.  So, now our most useful tool for whale rescue seems to be noodles!  Who knew?  Well you can see it takes quite a few of us to hold him and in this photo we are actually swimming with him, that’s why you see some faces working hard.  Our co-worker Marcus took this great photo.  This guy has been everywhere and I think the first days spent as much time in waist deep water as we did!  Emily is on the left behind George, and I am on the right up front (just where my momma would want me: NOT),  and the others are the girls on my team and several from CDTC also.  You cannot believe the hard work and dedication that has been shown by so many over the last week.  After about 2 solid days of continuously holding him and giving him fluids, meds and food, he has gotten stronger and is doing just great!  He is responding well to all our treatments and is now putting on weight. He no longer just lays there and George is able to sit on a surfboard and feed him from the water with the whale swimming around.  We have a huge pen we made so he is in a type of netted pool.  For anyone more interested you should check out http://www.sccnetwork.org/page/38/VolunteersSay this is an article I wrote for the network giving a bit more details plus there are some more photos.  We have received huge support from the island of Curacao and appreciate all those working so hard.  Well, this girl is tired and Emily and I have night watch tonight from 3-6 am, so I am off to bed!  Just another day in paradise!
 
Aimee
22-07-2009

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