In February 2010, SDRP staff members spotted a young dolphin “wearing” plastic. We hoped that she would shed the material but it soon became apparent that would not happen. After receiving permission from the National Marine Fisheries Service, which oversees the protection of wild marine mammals, our team attempted to capture the animal to remove the plastic.

While the first attempt was not successful, our second attempt was. We found her with plastic twine and a metal hook tightly wrapped around her head. A team of about 30 people temporarily captured, disentangled and released her on March 1, 2010.

The calf was nicknamed “Nellie” in honor of Dr. Nélio Barros, who was manager of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program between 2000-2006, and a great friend and colleague of the SDRP. He died in 2010.

Nellie is the seventh born to a Sarasota Bay dolphin known as FB25, a 32-year-old dolphin seen regularly in Sarasota Bay. In 2020, Nellie gave birth to her second calf.