Marine Life Dolphins Thriving In The Bahamas - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Marine Life Dolphins Thriving In The Bahamas

Kelly the dolphin Kelly the dolphin
Terry Corbit praises Kelly the dolphin Terry Corbit praises Kelly the dolphin
Dolphins having play-time Dolphins having play-time
Five of the 80 trainers working with dolphins Five of the 80 trainers working with dolphins
Dolphin Cay at Atlantis Resort In the Bahamas Dolphin Cay at Atlantis Resort In the Bahamas

Life is fun in the sun for Kelly the dolphin. She's been to hell and back, swept away with seven other dolphins to the Gulf of Mexico when Hurricane Katrina ravaged their giant tank at the Oceanarium in Gulfport.

Weakened and sick after more than a week in the contaminated waters, workers were amazed to find Kelly and her companions swimming together. They swam to the boats, were brought aboard mats and given food and medicine.

Once back on shore, they were then put in hotel swimming pools and at the seabee base in a tank until a new home could be found. From the wreckage of their former home and the temporary tiny hotel swimming pools to Dolphin Cay - one of the largest manmade dolphin facilities in the world at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Terry Corbet has worked with dolphins and killer whales for more than 20 years. She took us in the water to meet Kelly.

Reporter Rusty Dordin asks, "What kind of shape was kelly in when she was rescued after Katrina?"

"Some were very dehydrated. They had no fish to eat. Dolphins get all their water through their fish intake so when they don't eat they get dehydrated," Corbet says.

The eight rescued dolphins were reunited with another eight also rescued from the oceanarium, all sixteen together again.

"I think it was good, for not only the dolphins but the people as well, that they have that closure, and they are in a good place," Corbet says.

Kelly is one of six rescued from Katrina that are pregnant. They are expected to give birth over the next six months. The pregnant females are watched closely in a separate pen, and temperature readings are taken several times a day.

"When they get closer to giving birth their temperature will drop," says one of the trainers.

Anyone can pay 150 dollars to get up close and personal with the dolphins. Despite the tourist attraction, officials here claim it's about education and rehabilitating injured marine mammals.

"We have a state of the art laboratory facility here where we do all of our husbandry on the animals. We take blood samples. We do ultra sounds," says another trainer.

More than 80 trainers work with the dolphins.  Work??? Well, that might be pushing it. These creatures need a lot of play time. Kelly and her crew are thriving and reproducing, and after their incredible journey, handlers at Dolphin Cay say, "What more could you ask for?"

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