Care with fishing gear urged after dolphin's death

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SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -- Marine experts are reminding people to look out for wildlife while on the water this 4th of July weekend and year-round.

The reminder comes after the death earlier this month of one of the oldest Dolphins is Sarasota Bay.  58-year-old Squiggy was recovered by Florida Fish and Wildlife staff after she died on June 7th.

An examination revealed that she was emaciated and she had three large fishing hooks in her stomach and one in her mouth that was attached to 11 feet of heavy monofilament line.

Squiggy was known to spend time near Venice, including areas with frequent boat traffic. She was first identified in September 1980 and was documented 267 times since then by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.

SDRP staff have continued monitoring Squiggy’s descendants, who have also suffered impacts from human interactions. Squiggy’s daughter died in 2012 from ingesting recreational fishing gear, and the daughter’s 6-month-old calf died several weeks later after losing her mother. Squiggy’s first grand-calf died from entanglement in a crab trap’s float line.

Mote Marine Laboratory says that it's important to be vigilant for dolphins and other wildlife, especially during this time of year, which is dolphin calving season.