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Delta and Dawn

Delta and Dawn


Humpback whale Delta and her female calf Dawn made national news when they swam 75 miles up the Sacramento Delta, the longest known journey ever taken by this species inland in fresh water.

A rescue team, comprised of local, state and federal agencies, and led by The Marine Mammal Center's Dr. Frances Gulland, was quickly assembled. It was soon discovered that both mother and daughter had sharp trauma wounds on their backs caused by at least one vessel strike. The team tried persuading the pair to swim back to sea, but to no avail.

Over the next several days, the team closely monitored the wounds, swimming behavior, breathing rate, and skin condition. After being in fresh water for almost two weeks, the team observed the whales' wounds had become infected. That's when the team made history by administering antibiotics to whales in the wild for the first time! By using a specially designed dart gun, they were able to give the whales the antibiotics needed to help their wounds heal.

Just one day later, both mother and daughter were showing signs of healing and after swimming under three bridges, Delta and Dawn made their way back to the open sea.

Thank you for your generous donation and for making a difference in the life of a marine mammal like these former patients.

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