Gulf World Marine Park’s rescue team got the call Tuesday morning a stranded dolphin had been spotted near St. Andrews State Park.
“It was in our stranding area, so we responded to receive the dolphin and triage until it can be transported to another facility to continue rehabilitation” said Secret Holmes-Douglas, Director of Marine Mammal and Stranding Coordinator.
While at the local facility, the dolphin was monitored and stabilized; however, Gulf World did not have space available to continue long term rehab so workers called the Hubbs Sea World Research Institute in Orlando. They agreed to take the dolphin, so Wednesday morning, the Sea World Rescue Team arrived in Panama City Beach to transport the mammal.
“It’s always about visual monitoring with these stranded cetaceans. The Gulf World team has done a fantastic job in just the initial steps in stabilizing this spotted dolphin” said Christopher Dold, V.P. Vet Services Sea World.
Atlantic spotted dolphins are usually found far offshore. Marine biologist says, marine life beach strandings are common along the Gulf Coast in winter, but there could be other reasons. The northern Gulf is in an “Unusual Mortality Event” period, or UME. This occurs when marine life strands itself unexpectedly which can have a negative effect on their populations.
Director of Marine Mammals and Stranding Coordinator, Secret Holmes-Douglas feels this UME may have played a role in the latest stranding.
“She’s part of that; it’s been going on since the BP Oil Spill. We’ve had UMEs in the past, so we still don’t know exactly why UME is going on, it’s still under investigations” said Holmes-Douglas.
As for the dolphin, there is no word on how long rehabilitation will take.
Officials stress if a marine animal is spotted stranded on the beach do not push it back in the water. Instead, call the police or Gulf World Marine Park’s hotline at (850)258-6968.
Source: WJHG by Kavontae Smalls