BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A couple is being credited with saving the life of a young dolphin that washed ashore Friday morning in Biloxi.
The dolphin was found across from the Ocean Club near the Broadwater Hotel by two people who were out walking on the beach. The juvenile dolphin was lying on its side in danger of drowning so the couple acted quickly, calling 911.
Authorities contacted the response line at the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, who rushed out to save the dolphin. While waiting for help to arrive, the couple held the dolphin’s head above the water, making sure she could breathe.
When the veterinarian arrived, she found a species of dolphin that officials at IMMS say they’ve never seen before on the Mississippi Gulf Coast -- a rough-toothed dolphin. According to IMMS director Moby Solangi, rough-toothed dolphins are typically found in much deeper waters.
Solangi says the dolphin is a young female that is 6'10" and weighs around 140 pounds. The animal had two large fishing hooks in its mouth and is being treated for pneumonia. However, she is in stable condition.
"We're having to keep it stable in the water," said Solangi. "Without having good lung capacity, it could drown."
Solangi believes the young dolphin may have gotten separated from her mother and followed a deep sea fishing boat. He says the team at IMMS will nurse the mammal back to health and, hopefully, release it back into the wild once it has been rehabilitated.
If you find a live stranded or injured dolphin on the beach call for help immediately. Do not touch the animal without direction from IMMS or another governing agency such as NOAA or MDMR. Please be aware that when an animal strands, it may be sick. Therefore, please use every precaution to protect yourself from any infectious diseases live dolphin stranding is an emergency and the speed of response by a professional rescue team is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining whether or not the animal will survive. To reach the IMMS Response Team, call 888-SOS-DOLPHIN (1-888-767-3657).