Monitoring a rehabilitated harbor porpoise using satellite telemetry

  • Published source details Westgate A.J., Read A.J., Cox T.M., Schofield T.D., Whitaker B.R. & Anderson K.E. (1998) Monitoring a rehabilitated harbor porpoise using satellite telemetry. Marine Mammal Science, 14, 599-604.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rehabilitate and release injured, sick or weak marine and freshwater mammals

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Rehabilitate and release injured, sick or weak marine and freshwater mammals

    A controlled study in 1995–1996 of a pelagic area in the North Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Maryland, USA (Westgate et al. 1998) found that a stranded harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena that was rehabilitated and released back into the wild survived for at least 50 days and had similar movements and behaviour to wild porpoises. The rehabilitated female porpoise was successfully tracked for 50 days after release before contact was lost with the transmitter. The average distance of the released porpoise from the shore (31 km), average daily distance travelled (33 km), average rate of travel (1.4 km/h) and proportion of time spent at the water surface (3%) were within the ranges of seven wild porpoises tracked by the authors in a previous study (see original paper for details). In April 1995, the porpoise was found stranded and underweight, and taken to a rehabilitation facility. The porpoise was kept in a 4-m deep, 370,000-l pool, treated for parasites and bacterial infections, and fed fish and squid at 11% of its body mass/day. After 13 months of rehabilitation, the porpoise (aged approximately two years old) was satellite-tagged and released offshore. The porpoise was tracked to 142 locations in April–June 1996.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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