Rare, melon-headed whale shows signs of improvement at IMMS

Rare, melon-headed whale shows signs of improvement at IMMS
A melon-headed whale swims on his own in a tank at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport on Monday. (Photo source: WLOX) (Source: John Fitzhugh)

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The melon-headed whale that was found Thursday stranded on Cat Island is showing signs of improvement.

Staff members at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in Gulfport are with the whale around the clock to monitor his progress.

While the whale is still in critical condition, veterinarians say he is making significant improvements.

There are several milestones they are looking for him to meet.

“One milestone is going to be him eating on his own. One is going to be him more consistently swimming on his own and being able to steer a little bit better” said Dr. Christa Barrett, Institute For Marine Mammal Studies veterinarian. “And then there are other things we have to do before he’s eligible for release.”

Those things include making sure the whale’s sight and hearing are okay, so he can survive in the wild again.

Barrett said they may never know why the whale, that would normally be much further south in the Gulf of Mexico, was stranded. But she was encouraged the live stranding would give them a great opportunity to study and learn.

UPDATE: Rare, melon-headed whale recovering at IMMS

Copyright 2019 WLOX. All rights reserved.