Common item caused this dolphin's ‘slow and painful death’
"Star", the much-loved Port River dolphin was subjected to a "very bad way to die", a medical examination of her body has found.
Death was finally caused by entanglement and a fishing hook that had embedded in her throat resulting in a large abscess.
But the examination uncovered countless other problems suffered for weeks by the animal before she died in the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary last week.
Images, some of which are too graphic to be published by The Advertiser, reveal Star had a large entanglement coming out her mouth containing eight large hooks, the hook and line that was embedded in her throat as well as a the pair of gloves and two hooks found in her stomach.
The examination was completed yesterday at the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation headquarters on Torrens Island, by Adelaide University Professor Roger Byard.
"There are some very bad ways to die," he said.
"This is one of them. It is not a good thing to see such a beautiful animal like this have such a slow and painful death".
AMWRRO president and wildlife champion Aaron Machado was also at the examination with observers from the Department of Environment and Water, Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, and the South Australian Museum.
"The State Government has indicated its willingness to make sure any unnecessary red tape is removed in relation to permits around dolphin rescues, and I look forward to providing input to that process as a matter of urgency in the near future," Mr Machado said.
"They both agreed that steps should be taken to make sure that other dolphins don't suffer similar fates."
Prof Byard said; "We are supposed to be protecting these dolphins not just watching them die".
The photographs caused an outpouring of anger on the AMWRRO Facebook page yesterday.
Reader Kitty Wallace said; "Doesn't sound like a bloody sanctuary to me! How many more dolphins will die?"
"It's only a sanctuary by name no one cares enough to stop boats and fishing in their sanctuary, if only the people who can make those decisions would do so, I've written to politicians several times with no response.
Star had been suffering for about three weeks before her death.
In March, the State Government introduced reduced speed limits for the Port River to protect dolphins after a concerted campaign by Messenger Community News.