GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A second rare species of dolphin has been found along the Gulf Coast. A pantropical spotted dolphin was rescued from a beach near Theodore, Alabama this week.
Like the rough-toothed dolphin found on Biloxi Beach last week, the pantropical spotted dolphin is also a very young female animal.
The Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which is based out of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab were the first team to get to the pantropical spotted dolphin. After assessing it and determining that it had a chance at survival, they contacted IMMS, which is the area's premier rehabilitation facility for marine life.
The dolphin arrived at the Gulfport facility Tuesday night and is now under the care of Dr. Debra Moore, a Mississippi State University veterinarian who is stationed at IMMS. She is in critical condition and being monitored around the clock.
Both the rough-toothed dolphin and the pantropical spotted dolphin are native to the Gulf of Mexico, said IMMS director Moby Solangi, adding that they are usually found in much deeper waters.
Recent hurricane activity could be causing the dolphins to go astray, said Solangi.
"Dolphins live in pods and that storm (Hurricane Michael) just disrupted those pods," said Solangi. "Now we have these two dolphins, both female, both very young, and they both got separated from their groups. Now, they're both orphans."
The rough-toothed dolphin is still being cared for but is in stable condition, said Solangi. The pantropical spotted dolphin continues to be cared for.
“I have administered antibiotics, fluids, and fish gruel to the animal but her status remains critical at this time," said Dr. Moore. “This will be a long-term effort."
If you find a live stranded or injured dolphin on the beach, call for help immediately.
Dr. Solangi stresses that calling for help is especially important because marine animals that are stranded often carry diseases that are harmful to humans.
“It can be dangerous if you don’t know how to handle them. They’re very powerful animals," he said. Time is also crucial when responding to a dolphin in distress, he said.
To reach the IMMS Response Team, call 888-SOS-DOLPHIN, 888-767-3657.