On Sunday afternoon, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission alerted the Florida Panhandle marine mammal response crews to a young bottlenose dolphin that had washed ashore in Fort Walton Beach.
According to Gulf World Marine Institute in Panama City Beach, staff members at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge responded, and after determining that the animal was a candidate for rehabilitation, contacted Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI).
“The animal was stranded during an intense storm, and was fortunate that the members of the public knew not to push him back out into the rough surf,” wrote GWMI on Monday.
The young male dolphin weighs about 76 pounds, and must be monitored 24/7, according to GWMI.
“As with all debilitated animals that wash ashore, observers must be alert to his condition and behavior at all times,” the wrote in a press release. “So far, he has done well in habitat with staff members, and staff is working to get him to regularly nurse from a bottle to supplement the natural behavior he would be doing with his mother.”
Bloodwork was collected to test for possible infections that might have caused his stranding.
For those interested in donating to GWMI’s stranding and rehabilitation efforts go to www.gwmi.info.
“Marine mammal rehabilitation efforts are extensive and expensive, and any help is appreciated,” said GWMI. “Marine mammal rehabilitation can cost over $10,000 in the first week alone.”
All marine mammal response activities are conducted under appropriate Stranding Agreements with National Marine Fisheries Service.