April 14, 2007
Experts Open Dolphin 'Chat Line' in Fla.
Found at SF Gate.com:
"A marine mammal rehabilitation facility opened a dolphin "chat line" of sorts Saturday, hoping to teach a deaf dolphin's unborn calf to communicate.
Castaway, as the stranded Atlantic bottlenose dolphin is named, has been recovering at the Marine Mammal Conservancy since Jan. 30. A battery of tests has confirmed she is deaf.
Dolphins need to hear echoes of sounds they produce to find food, socialize and defend themselves against predators.
"We asked ourselves `How do we get the calf to speak when we have a deaf mother?'" said Robert Lingenfelser, the conservancy's president.
They decided to electronically connect Castaway's habitat with a lagoon at Dolphins Plus, a research and interactive educational facility a few miles down the Keys Overseas Highway. Underwater speakers and microphones were installed at both locations and connected via phone lines.
Castaway should deliver her calf in about a month.
"Even before it is born, we want the calf to have an idea of what normal dolphin vocalization is," Lingenfelser said."