The thought of “Zenil” the dolphin from Gasaprilla Sound nearly loosing her tail back in 2003 never would have crossed my mind, had I not come across a news article on the story. When Dolphin Discoveries first saw Zenil, she had terrible propeller scars (that were healed over), now we know why.
In 2003, when Zenil was only a baby, she was hit by a boat, and the propeller sliced several nasty incisions into her tail. Not only that, she had been reported as having become entangled in fishing line. The line was cutting deeper into the propeller wounds, and after three days of monitoring, the line was only cutting deeper.
Thankfully, the Mote Marine Laboratory stranding team was able to capture her, remove the fishing line, give her a dose of antibiotics, and let her go. The entire process took about three minutes.
“The wounds were deep and close to the bone. I we hadn’t intervened, she probably would have lost her tail. She will always have horrible scars,” said Nelio Barros, manager of the stranding program.
Mote continued to monitor the injured dolphin, and referred to her as “Placida Dolphin,” because she was often seen in Placida Harbor. Years later, Dolphin Discoveries observed her for about a year, but she disappeared after April of 2016.
Zenil appeared to be a local resident in Placida Harbor/Gasparilla Sound, and when she went missing after April 2016, we feared that she may have died. However, this story gives us hope that she may still be alive – and she may even come back. Dolphin Discoveries started observing dolphins in the area in 2013, but Zenil wasn’t seen until 2015. We now know that she was also seen in 2003. Could it be that Zenil is actually one of the transients who’s visits to Placida are fewer and far between? Might she been seen in the area again sometime?
There always is the possibility that the dolphin in this story isn’t actually Zenil, as there were no pictures provided in any online articles that we found, so we couldn’t compare dorsal fin photos to find out for sure. However, the description of the dolphin in the story matches that of Zenil.