Experts Open Dolphin ‘Chat Line’ in Fla.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Key Largo, Fla. (AP) — A marine mammal rehabilitation facility opened
a dolphin “chat line” of sorts Saturday, hoping to teach a deaf
dolphin’s unborn calf to communicate.

Castaway, as the stranded Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is named, has
been recovering at the Marine Mammal Conservancy since Jan. 30. A
battery of tests has confirmed she is deaf.

Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce to find food,
socialize and defend themselves against predators.

“We asked ourselves `How do we get the calf to speak when we have a
deaf mother?'” said Robert Lingenfelser, the conservancy’s president.

They decided to electronically connect Castaway’s habitat with a
lagoon at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational
facility a few miles down the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater
speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and
connected via phone lines.

Castaway should deliver her calf in about a month.

“Even before it is born, we want the calf to have an idea of what
normal dolphin vocalization is,” Lingenfelser said.



TO:  rgl [at] marinemammalconservancy [dot] org, info [at] dolphinsplus [dot] com

[TEXT APPROXIMATE] : ‘is there any possibility, pretty please, for
popular educational benefit, to make 24-7 live stream of audio signals
discussed above available online? Wouldn’t be that complicated, great
research resource (good also for promotion)…’