Recovering dolphin reveals secrets about Gulf oil spill

Published: Feb. 7, 2012 at 2:30 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM CST
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The young dolphin found stranded November 24th survived and is thriving now thanks to the scientists at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.

"This is the first animal since the oil spill that was found alive in the Alabama, Mississippi area," Dr. Moby Solangi said. "He was almost dead."

Luckily for the dolphin they named "Chance," scientists at IMMS have a 99 percent success rate in saving injured marine mammals. His recovery and friendliness to those who care for him is amazing. He doesn't realize it, but Chance is perhaps one of the most important witnesses in an unprecedented investigation.

"He's just like a black box," Solangi said. "He's revealing some very important information as to what happened since the oil spill. A lot of information on disease, his health and other information on the environment."

Information so important to the federal government's criminal case against those involved in the Gulf oil spill, Dr. Solangi has to keep quiet about what he now knows.

"It'll have to be analyzed by the federal authorities since it is a criminal investigation were not allowed to indulge in the results of our findings."

They test Chance's blood, teeth and blubber often, reporting directly back to NOAA and other federal agencies. In the scientific world, this is their smoking gun that gives them more data than they could have ever gotten from any of the dead dolphins found since the spill.

"Which, according to some of the investigative procedures, we are not allowed to discuss. But it is very significant," Solangi said.

Chance is still in quarantine at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport and will be there for some time until he fully recovers. Their hope is to one day return him to the wild.

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