PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Gulf World Marine Institute’s Stranding Team rescued an Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin that washed ashore near Indian Pass on Tuesday.
Thanks to a phone called to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Gulf World Marine Institute was able to rescue the female dolphin.
“It was wonderful we had the assistance of FWC law enforcement and well as United States Geological survey staff members that we have connections with over there,” said Gulf World Marine Institute Stranding Coordinator, Lauren Albrittian.
The 9-foot dolphin weighs more than 400 pounds but Albrittian said that’s underweight for this particular species.
“Because she is underweight, that does help make it a little easier to move around however she’s not lightweight, she’s still over 400 pounds,” said Albrittian.
On Tuesday afternoon, the dolphin washed up near Indian Pass in Gulf County. Albrittian said so far the dolphin is doing well, but there are still more tests to be done.
“It’s still very early,” Albrittian said. “So we’ve got to get test results back for different diseases they might carry, we still have to test her out on eating so good signs but still very early.”
The dolphin is currently being monitored 24 hours a day by the Gulf World Marine Institute. Staff members are working in shifts so they can try to get some sleep while keeping their recent rescue safe and healthy.
“We’re just super fortunate to have great staff and volunteer program to be able to be out here at all hours,” Albrittian said. “We try to disperse it as best we can so that way people can get sleep.”
Those who were part of the rescue said the fact that she wasn’t pushed back into the water is a big reason why she’s still alive.
“If a marine mammal is in shallow enough water that they risk stranding, something is wrong, Albrittian said. “And so what we want people to know is if they do encounter a marine mammal that has washed ashore, the most important thing you can do is not push the animal back. That’s actually very stressful and potentially very harmful to that animal and it prevents them from getting the treatment that they need.
Albrittian said the first week of rehabilitation will cost $10,000. If you would like to donate to the Gulf World Marine Institute head to their website.