A marine mammal 2)rehabilitation facility opened a dolphin “chat line” of sorts recently, hoping to teach a deaf dolphin’s unborn 3)calf to communicate.
Castaway, as the 4)stranded Atlantic 5)bottlenose dolphin is named, has been recovering at the 6)Marine Mammal Conservancy. 7)A battery of tests have confirmed she is deaf.
Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce, to find food, socialize and defend themselves against 8)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 9)lagoon at 10)Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational facility, a few miles down 11)the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and connected via phone lines.
Castaway should 12)deliver her calf in about a month.
“Even before it is born, we want the calf to have an idea of what normal dolphin 13)vocalization is,” Lingenfelser said.