Roxanne the Risso's Dolphin released into ocean

Roxanne a Risso's dolphin was rescued on the shore at Jones Beach Island and was released back into the ocean Wednesday after being nursed back to health at the Long Island Aquarium by the Riverhead Foundation. (WABC)

August 28, 2013 2:41:58 PM PDT
Roxanne the Risso's Dolphin who was injured and rehabilitated on Long Island is back in the ocean, swimming with her friends.

Roxanne didn't begin to relax until she was 10 miles offshore.

It's where her heart finally stopped racing and the marine biologists who rescued her began to breathe again.

"She's doing great! She's really very calm, she's exactly the way we want her to be," said Kim Durham, the Riverhead Foundation.

Dolphin strandings don't often end this way.

Roxanne washed-ashore near Fire Island back in June. She was badly diseased and barely alive.

"She was at death's door," Durham said.

The staff at Long Island's Riverhead Foundation spent the summer nursing Roxanne back to health. Then, raised thousands of dollars for her release including contributions from Eyewitness News viewers and local schoolchildren.

"You don't always get to see it, so it's like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!" a student said.

The trip offshore took more than four hours. And when it was finally time to say goodbye, all it took was one, really big push.

Five minutes later, other dolphins appeared out of nowhere. It was a welcoming party, perhaps, for a long-lost friend.

"It's always a great feeling when you can see that you have a positive outcome from what you're doing," said Rob DiGiovanni, the Riverhead Foundation.

"Releases don't come often, successes don't come often, so when you have one, it's amazing," Durham said.

Roxanne is a rarely-seen species known as a Risso's Dolphin. Her survival is good for her and great for us.

She now has a satellite tracking-device that will allow scientists to study her data for years to come.