Michael McCarthy recently captured a heart-wrenching scene while canoeing through the Intracoastal Waterway near St. Petersburg, Florida.
“I wanted to believe it was a large redfish or something, but it quickly became apparent that it was a dead calf,” he told The Dodo.
When McCarthy was canoeing he noticed a dolphin pushing a limp body through the water.
“It took me a minute to accept what I was seeing when I first spotted the dolphin,” he said.
As he watched the scene unfold, he realized the dolphin was pushing a dead calf. McCarthy, owner of See Through Canoe Company, silently observed what could only be described as a small funeral procession.
“As the mother made her way north through the Intracoastal Waterway, other dolphins joined her for short distances and then went on their way except for one dolphin that stayed with the mother the whole time.”
Mother #dolphin not ready to let go of her dead calf and pushing it through the intracoastal waterway.
It's hard to say for sure without examination, but the calf may have been hit by a boat. Please don't assume that because #dolphins are fast that you won't hit them. #sad pic.twitter.com/Le2MAwvPIB
— See Through Canoe (@SeeThroughCanoe) June 3, 2019
Although McCarthy couldn’t be sure what caused the calf’s premature death, he surmised that it’s possible the calf was killed by a boat.
“Judging by the scar patterns on the calf it was likely hit by a boat propeller.”
“I took a lot of video of it & could see deep cuts on the calf that were typical of propeller wounds,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’ve spent over 50 years on the water around dolphins & manatees & unfortunately I am very familiar with what prop wounds look like.”
Even though the scene is heartbreaking, McCarthy ultimately decided to share the video to bring awareness to those who believe dolphins can outswim watercrafts.
“The calves are even more vulnerable because they can’t swim as fast and have to surface much more frequently for air.”
Please share this so everyone knows how important it is to be careful around marine life.
Dolphins, calves, and other marine animals cannot outswim boats. You need to slow down.