GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Things are looking good for the young dolphin that was stranded on Biloxi’s beach last week.
Scientists at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) are running water tests and doing blood work on the dolphin to monitor her progress.
The institute rescued the dolphin after a couple found her dehydrated, hooked and in critical condition on Friday. She was also found with two hooks stuck in her mouth.
The dolphin is 6 feet 10 inches long and weighs roughly 135 pounds. She is of the rough toothed species, which is rare to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and usually found in deeper waters.
Dr. Moby Solangi, director of IMMS, says while the dolphin has improved since being taken in, she will need a couple more months of supervised care before being released to the wild.
“We are treating it for pneumonia. We are keeping the water quality as safe as possible, and we’re using every precaution to make sure this animal survives,” Dr. Solangi said.
The couple who found the dolphin reacted quickly by calling IMMS before jumping into action.
Safely rescuing stranded animals requires a lot of teamwork.
“We wanted the animal’s head to be above water, so it could breathe," Solangi said. “There were actually law enforcement agents that were out there, and [the couple] took directions from us over the phone. They worked very well with us in making sure they were doing everything safely.”
Dr. Solangi stressed that calling the institute is especially important because marine animals that are stranded often carry diseases that are harmful to humans.
He added, “It can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle them. They’re very powerful animals.”
Solangi says this is the 47th dolphin to strand on the Coast this year, up from an average of 25-30 in previous years.
To reach the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies' 24-hour Response Team, call 888-SOS-DOLPHIN (1-888-767-3657).