UPDATE: Clarence the dolphin dies after stranding on Holiday Isle (PHOTOS and VIDEO)

Kathy Harrison
Crews from the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge and Gulf World responded to a dolphin stranding this morning along Holiday Isle.

9 a.m. THURSDAY UPDATE: Steve Shippee with the Wildlife Refuge emailed The Log: " I'm sad to report that staff at Gulf World contacted me at 9:30 last night with news that the dolphin "Clarence" died.  They will conduct a necropsy exam to determine if there is an obvious cause of death, but most probably it will depend on histology findings that will not come back from the lab for some time. We are thankful that we at least were able to provide comfort to the dolphin and appreciate the efforts of all the rescue volunteers that stepped out to assist, especially the wonderful Canadian guests at the Surf and Racquet Club." 5 P.M. UPDATE: This press release comes from Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) in collaboration with Emerald Coast Wildlife Rescue: (ECWR) responded to a call about a stranded dolphin at 7:30am this morning. The dolphin was located at Destin Beach Surf & Racket Club. ECWR did the initial response and secured the animal for transport.  GWMI resident Veterinarian  Dr. Lydia Staggs was sent to assess the dolphin’s condition and assist ECWR with the transport to GWMI.  The dolphin is a Rough-toothed (Steno bredanensis) sub adult male approximately six feet long. These dolphins are typically found off shore.

After arriving at GWMI Stranding Facility Dr. Staggs collected samples to send to the lab for further analysis.  Dr. Staggs reports that preliminary results show him to be in very critical condition and will be monitored on a 24 hours basis. 

The original story.

At about 4 a.m. today, a rough-toothed dolphin was spotted rolling on the beach by a snowbird who was staying at the Holiday Surf & Racquet Club along Holiday Isle.

At first the man thought it was a log rolling on the beach, but after grabbing his binoculars he realized he was looking at a dolphin struggling in the surf. He called security and the men pushed the dolphin back into the water where it swam for a little bit before once again stranding itself on shore.

After a second attempt to help the dolphin, they called 911 who then forwarded the call to the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge.


Soon after, the crew from the refuge made it to the area where the dolphin was laying in the surf.

Once the team stabilized the dolphin, it was moved to the lawn area of the condo in an inflatable pool filled with water.

Wetsuit-clad Wildlife Refuge Health Technician Brittany Patrick assisted the dolphin in the pool. She checked the mammal’s vitals with a stethoscope before giving it a shot of Valium. There were no apparent injuries and the dolphin was responsive in the pool.

After veterinarian Lydia Staggs from Gulf World Marine in Panama City arrived with her crew and a truck, the animal was loaded up and transported to the park.

The dolphin measured 73 inches, is a male, weighed about 200 pounds and was estimated to be “a sub-adult,” rescuers said. Rough-toothed dolphins are usually found in deep warm and tropical waters around the world and are relatively rare in these parts.

The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge reminds residents and visitors to call 850-404-3922 when they see an animal in distress. Good intentions, like pushing a beached animal into the water, can often cause unintended harm, refuge officials say.