Wednesday, July 18, 2018
News Roundup

Video: Paddleboarders in Weeki Wachee River capture rare dolphin sighting in shallow waters

WEEKI WACHEE — Paddleboarders along the Weeki Wachee River had a couple of surprise visitors over the weekend.

Local paddleboarding company SUP Weeki captured rare photos and videos showing two dolphins swimming up the river in fairly shallow water.

SUP Weeki owner Pam Napp, who runs daily nature tours along the river, captured the videos, according to 10News WTSP.

"You just never know what you might see," Napp told 10News WTSP. "The video shows them frolicking and just zooming through the water."

Some of those commenting on the video said they have seen dolphins in the river before, just not in water that shallow and clear.

"We do get reports of dolphins in the river where it opens up to the gulf, but we have not heard of the animals being seen that far up," Florida Fish and Wildlife biologist Andy Garrett said.

Sunday's sighting was rare enough that FWC officials came out to the river to survey the area and make sure the dolphins were safe.

The team did not see the dolphins and didn't receive further reports of sightings — something Garrett said is a good thing for the mammals' well-being.

Dolphins can get freshwater illness, Garrett said, which involves an adverse skin reaction that could lead to lesions.

Since it seems like an isolated sighting, Garrett said it's likely the pair took off up the river to chase fish and explore.

"It is definitely rare to see them there," Garrett said. "Short-term it's not a problem, but long term it could become an issue so we will continue to monitor it."

Contact Samantha Putterman at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @samputterman.

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