Male dolphin rehabilitation at IMMS is moving along
Dolphins are revered for their intelligence, playfulness, and friendly interactions with humans, but let’s delve a little deeper as these majestic marine mammals are celebrated world-wide for National Dolphin Awareness Month.
News 25’s Toni Miles takes us behind the scenes at the IMMS with an update on the recently rescued orphaned dolphin and what part he and his species play in the overall big picture.
Veterinarian Dr. Debra Moore said, “Just like a baby would drink milk, they drink milk as well. We have been feeding him milk, but now he’s ready to go onto solid food. We gradually take away one of the milk feeds we give, and we are giving him fish, so he’s eating a type of herring at every feed. He’s amazingly improved. He’s eating well. We are so excited to see how he’s doing every day.”
Six weeks and going strong. This juvenile male dolphin has come a long way since landing here as an orphan at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport. IMMS Stranding Coordinator Theresa Madrigal said, “We have a 24-hour hotline. The number is 888-SOS-DOLPHIN. We are very fortunate that this call was made very early when they spotted this animal. We were able to get to him, triage him and get him back here to rehab.”
While this little fella loves to play in his pool and temporary home, the aim is to rehab and release him back into his natural environment, while also collecting a steady stream of research data and information to ultimately help him, his species, and our overall coastal ecosystem. “They are the top predators as far as marine mammals go in our area. Mississippi has one of the largest population of dolphins in the Mississippi Sound, so this animal represents in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Mississippi Sound.”
Here in our region, we’re just now starting to enter what is known as the stranding season. You’re asked to immediately call IMMS should you see any dead, injured or stranded marine life in the area. “We see most of our animals between March and August. So anything we definitely want to receive. We just really want to thank the public. Your help with this is critical for us getting to these animals that are alive and injured and also getting to these dead carcasses that we study very well.”