Rescued whales making strides in recovery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Rescued whales making strides in recovery

Dr. Dorian Houser was able to test one of the whales, but the other was not fit enough to go through the test. (Photo source: Moby Solangi) Dr. Dorian Houser was able to test one of the whales, but the other was not fit enough to go through the test. (Photo source: Moby Solangi)
An expert from the Navy’s Marine Mammal Foundation is now helping out by performing hearing tests on the whales. (Photo source: Moby Solangi) An expert from the Navy’s Marine Mammal Foundation is now helping out by performing hearing tests on the whales. (Photo source: Moby Solangi)
Rescued pigmy killer whale swims around controlled pool at IMMS. (Photo Source: WLOX News) Rescued pigmy killer whale swims around controlled pool at IMMS. (Photo Source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

It's been six weeks since two mysterious sea creatures were rescued from a marsh in Waveland.

The condition of two male pigmy killer whales continues to improve, despite the fact that scientists know very little about them.

"They're definitely more stable now and eating on their own which is great, but not out of the woods yet," Kelly Pulis the supervisor of animal training at the Institute for Marine Mammals said. 

A fisherman found the whales in September near Three Oaks Bayou, more than 100 miles north of their natural habitat. 

Kelly Pulis is part of an IMMS team dedicated to nursing the whales back to health. 

"Lesions and bites from being trapped or maybe something else; a lot of them have healed up and their overall skin condition looks really good now. Not 100 percent, but they're definitely improving," Pulis said.

Not knowing much about the whales has left the scientists working to heal them with lots of questions.

"The challenges are what do they eat, their behavior, their psychological issues and their medical issues," said Moby Solangi, IMMS president. 

An additional challenge has been ensuring the animals can survive in the wild. Scientists believe this particular species habitat is in the deep waters where hearing is critical to their survival.

"We have been working with the scientists at the Navy and they have done some hearing tests. We've done it on one of them which lets us know that they can echo-locate and hear which is a good sign," Solangi said. "We'll work on the other one when its a little better."

Rehabilitating the pigmy killer whales isn't cheap — maintaining the state of the art facility where they are housed costs tens of thousands of dollars.

"Most of the money comes from federal  grants, state grants and private donations. We apply for all sorts of funding," Solangi said.

Scientists say they don't know when the whales will be ready to return to the wild.

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