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Over the last few years, Rresearchers have been doing health assessments, or checkups, on wild dolphins in Florida and in South Carolina.
In fact, it was over 370 dolphins!
Researchers They were looking looked at their overall health and compared it to the checks ups that dolphins in aquariums and zoos get regularly from veterinarians, or animal doctors.
This is important because this is one of the first times that researchers did this study.
The results are were concerning.
Researchers found out that the wild dolphins they looked at, which represent dolphins in the ocean, had some health problems.
Dolphins have immune systems – just like us! The word immune means to be protected, and your body has an immune system that fights off sickness. It is made up of cells, tissues and organs that work together to keep you healthy!
Researchers found that the wild dolphins’ immune systems are really active meaning they to constantly fight off illness.
Where do their illnesses come from?
It comes Ffrom pathogens, which are bacteria or or germs.
Or Pparasites, which are tiny organisms that live on animals and could harm them
and environmental stressors - which can belike chemicals or pollutants that humans dump put in the ocean or contaminated fish..
Dolphins in the ocean are also eating fish that have these problems too, making the problem even worse!
Dolphins are telling us that the health of the ocean may be in trouble.
If the health of the ocean is in trouble, our health could be in trouble too.
There’s hope though. Researchers at aquariums and zoos are continuing to study dolphins and find ways to help the sick ones and keep the healthy ones healthy.
Dolphins in aquariums and zoos don’t face deal with the same health issues as dolphins in the ocean, because they don’t face the same environmental stressors (remember the pollutants and harmful stuff they encounter!)
Instead, theseThese dolphins have access to healthy water and veterinary care. Plus, their food is inspected and clean.
So how can you help?
Reduce, reuse, and recycle items you use instead of sending them to a landfillthrowing away.
Refuse plastic straws, plastic bags, and other one-use plastic items
Visit an accredited zoo or aquarium and learn about our ocean
To learn more visit georgiaaquarium.org/conserve
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