Image: Art Cooper
Bob Care  /  AP
Art Cooper cradles a day-old dolphin calf as other volunteers at the Marine Mammal Conservancy hand feed the infant to provide supplementary nutrition in Key Largo, Fla. The male baby was born Monday to a deaf Atlantic bottlenose dolphin died Friday.
updated 6/15/2007 7:12:56 PM ET 2007-06-15T23:12:56

The newborn calf of a deaf bottlenose dolphin that was found stranded last fall off a Florida beach died Friday at a marine mammal rehabilitation center.

Veterinarians and volunteers had noticed Thursday that the 5-day-old calf’s breathing was labored and it was struggling to swim. They stayed through the night nursing it and administering drugs, said Robert Lingenfelser, president of the Marine Mammal Conservancy.

“Everything that could have been done was done,” Lingenfelser said. “There is a profound sense of sadness here.”

He said the body of the male calf was being sent to a National Marine Fisheries laboratory for a necropsy.

It’s mother, nicknamed Castaway, was found stranded off Vero Beach in November. She was initially deemed healthy enough for release, but instead of swimming offshore, she returned to the beach three times. The dolphin was eventually transported to the center in the Keys, where she was determined to be deaf.

Lingenfelser said that Castaway appeared to be in good condition Friday, but that veterinarians had drawn blood for testing.

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