Dolphin appears distressed in Henderson Point canal - - The News for South Mississippi

Dolphin appears distressed in Henderson Point canal

Officials say they are worried about the animal. (Photo source: WLOX News) Officials say they are worried about the animal. (Photo source: WLOX News)

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is concerned about the health of a juvenile dolphin that somehow found its way into the waters of a canal at Henderson Point.

The 6-foot dolphin is out of its habit and likely in trouble. Henderson Point neighbor Dr. Raymond Swan, first spotted the dolphin about a week ago.

“And I looked at him and at first I thought it was a shark. Then I saw him more closely and figured out he's out of his pod,” Swan said.

Researchers from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies spent time on the water monitoring the health of the roughly two-year-old dolphin.

How it wound up in Henderson Point is a bit of a mystery.

“Either the mother died, or it got separated from the herd. It may have been affected by the red tide, who knows?” said Dr. Solangi.

How the displaced dolphin found its way into this canal doesn't matter much, but there are serious concerns about its survival.

“The salinity, the temperature, the dissolved oxygen. This is a very closed area; there's a lot of fresh water coming in. And with this cold snap, I think that's alarming,” said IMMS Director, Dr. Moby Solangi.

Researchers conduct an environmental analysis to check on things such as salinity and water temperature. They also use an underwater probe and computer program to try and hear sounds from the animal.

Dolphins use their sounds to find fish.

“That's what we are recording to see, if it's using its clicks and whistles. And that would indicate it's looking for food or it has the ability to forage,” said Dr. Solangi.

Unfortunately the research team is hearing very little from the dolphin; a likely sign of distress.

“And then if he's whistling, we would definitely see the spikes all over the place, and we're not seeing either of those,” said Victoria Howard. 

IMMS will closely monitor the dolphin and do whatever it takes to try and save the animal.

“The plan is to monitor this animal to make sure that it can be either moved out from this area and if it can't, what would it take to handle it and examine it,” said Dr. Solangi.

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