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Roxanne, rescued dolphin, gains strength, health

Roxanne, the 700-pound Rizzo's dolphin that was rescued

Roxanne, the 700-pound Rizzo's dolphin that was rescued from a sand bar off Oak Beach on June 6, swims around the tank at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Riverhead. (Aug. 6, 2013) Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

She splashes and frolics -- and since June 6 has put on about 100 pounds.

Rescued two months ago from a Fire Island Inlet sandbar, Roxanne, a 600-pound Risso's dolphin, was in poor health, said Kimberly Durham, rescue program director of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

Suffering from gastric bleeding and parasites, Roxanne was treated for ulcers, a condition that doesn't appear related to whatever is causing a die-off of bottlenose dolphins in the area, Durham said.

Treatment -- and 75 pounds of squid a day -- has put her on the mend.

During her recovery at the Long Island Aquarium in the foundation's only specially equipped rehab tank, however, there's no room for any other ailing dolphins, Durham said. One bottlenose dolphin found alive on the South Shore in July had to be euthanized, she said.

The cost of Roxanne's treatment and ocean release, expected later this summer, is estimated at $35,000, Durham said, including the cost of paying for a specially made crate, a crane, a vessel to take her 10 to 20 miles offshore and a satellite monitoring device.The public is asked to "adopt" Roxanne and other foundation-assisted animals to help defray costs.

---- PATRICIA KITCHEN

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