Rare whale species re-released near Gulfport coast

Rare whale species re-released near Gulfport coast
Scientists preparing to release a rare melon headed whale into the Gulf. (Photo Source: IMMS)
Veterinary care of the melon headed whale. (Photo Source: IMMS)
Veterinary care of the melon headed whale. (Photo Source: IMMS)
A rare melon headed whale stranded on an AL beach in September (Photo Source: IMMS)
A rare melon headed whale stranded on an AL beach in September (Photo Source: IMMS)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is thrilled to announce the release of a rare whale species back into the Gulf of Mexico.

In September, a young male melon headed whale stranded on the beach in Fort Morgan, Alabama.

The whale was soon transferred to The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies' (IMMS) care for treatment and rehabilitation.

When the animal arrived at IMMS, he was struggling to survive. He was severely ill and sustained multiple injuries while being stranded on the beach, according to behavioral ecologist Dr. Mystera Samuelson.

Veterinarian Dr. Debra Moore, and the IMMS team worked tirelessly over the course of four months to ensure the animal received the care he needed to not only survive, but thrive in the wild.

The IMMS team transported the whale approximately 90 miles off the coast of Gulfport, MS for his release into a natural deep water habitat.

The whale was fitted with a satellite tag to allow for close monitoring by scientists at IMMS for the next several weeks.

This is the first successful melon headed whale rehabilitation in the United States. The opportunity provided the scientists at IMMS with the unique opportunity to study the biology, behavior, and ecology of this rare species.

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