Young dolphin rescued and rehabbing at Gulf World Marine Institue
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - It’s not every day a dolphin finds its way onto the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. On Sunday, a baby bottlenose dolphin did in Fort Walton Beach.
“We were able to get there,” Lauren Albrittain, the Stranding Coordinator for the Gulf World Marine Institute. “We brought him into the vehicle and did a health assessment. Then brought him back and admitted him to rehab at Gulf Marine Institute.”
Beachgoers saw the dolphin washed up on the sand and did exactly what they were supposed to do, which was not push him back into the gulf.
“The reason that we don’t want the public pushing back marine mammals or sea turtles if they find them on the beach is because they strand for a reason,” Albrittain said. “Whether it’s illness, disorientation, whether they’re just out of habitat. We just want to make sure we’re always giving them the best possible outcome.”
Now, the roughly 8-month-old, 76-pound male dolphin is healing up at GWMI, thanks to the public’s quick thinking.
Observers are with the dolphin 24/7, bottle feeding him every three hours, and administering regular health checks.
“We’re doing everything we can to both quickly learn what happened, if he’s dealing with anything, what he’s dealing with,” Albrittain said. “We’re just trying to move him forward to recovery.”
As for the future for this little guy.
“We’ll always do what’s in the best interest of the animal,” Albrittain said. “Whether that is release him, whether that is give him a permanent home in human care. There is a lot of factors that come into play to make that decision. As we get closer to it, that’s when we’ll start thinking along those lines.”
Observers say the dolphin is doing well, swimming on his own, and are hopeful for his future.
The first week of marine mammal rehab can cost over $10,000. So, to make a donation to help with this dolphin’s healing process you can click here.
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