GULF COAST, Miss. (WLOX) - When Hurricane Katrina hit 15 years ago, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport were destroyed and eight dolphins housed in the facility were washed out to sea.
Miraculously, those dolphins survived and were sent to rehab at Dolphin Key Atlantis in the Bahamas after months on the coast.
Now, 15 years later, not only are the dolphins surviving but also thriving.
“Their life in Atlantis is filled with enrichment and great care,” said Linda Hammerton. “We’ve had the dolphins since Hurricane Katrina and after Hurricane Katrina they relocated to their new home here in Atlantis. And it’s just been a tremendous joy working and caring for them and working them back up from some of the health issues they had received during Hurricane Katrina.”
The dolphins were able to acclimate to life in Atlantis quickly. Right away, they began reproducing and by the next year three calves were born.
Altogether, the Katrina dolphins have had 12 calves, which is a good sign that they like their new home.
“They’re thriving and doing very well and our youngest is actually five years old.” said Hammerton.