OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Stranded, yes, but a beautiful sight to see.
A dolphin stranded in Simmons Bayou in Ocean Springs for two weeks has become a show for residents and visitors like Kristin Wheeler.
"It's really amazing to see what they can do, and what they look like, and just to be here and see it," Wheeler said.
But, Wheeler knows the small body of fresh water isn't where the animal belongs.
"It worries me a lot because bad things can happen to it," Wheeler said. "People litter in this water and it's just not safe for it to be here."
The dolphin provided a side show for the party at Bayou Cove Marina.
"Used to see it as you're going out to the islands, but now you see it here in the bayou," said Andy Byrd.
Officials don't know how the dolphin became stranded, or why it hasn't found its way out.
"We see dolphins in areas like this fairly often," said Dr. Jonathan Pitchford, a wildlife ecologist with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. "I guess the problem with guy is he's just not leaving."
Pitchford says the animal is not well.
"It's becoming a little bit more critical that something happen sooner than later," Pitchford said. "I mean, you can just tell that in the last week it's developed a lot of these skin lesions, so that's not a good sign."
Officials says it's going to be a multi-agency effort between IMMS, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration to save the animal. Help could arrive within the next week.
Once the animal is rescued, it could be set free in more favorable waters. Or, it may need rehabilitation before being released.
"Obviously, we want to try to help this guy out if we can," Pitchford said. "That's part of our job description is to help marine mammals that are stranded in a situation like this."