Wild Dolphins Are Sicker Than Captive Ones, Study Finds
Wild dolphins are exposed to more pollutants than their captive counterparts, which could explain why they face higher rates of illness and disease. They were compared to two populations of captive dolphins in Georgia and California, which turned out to be far healthier.
Fewer than half the wild dolphins studied were “clinically normal,” and many had chronically activated immune systems, signaling they were fighting off disease.
In humans, this kind of chronic immune response has been linked to cancer, heart disease, and increased vulnerability to infectious disease.
As large predators near the top of the food chain, dolphins accumulate any toxins ingested by their prey. Studies have shown dolphins in the Indian River Lagoon have high levels of mercury.