SeaWorld Rescue Rehabilitates Stranded Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin SeaWorld and marine animal rescue partners come together to give dolphin a new chance at life
After nearly one year of rehabilitative care at SeaWorld Orlando, a 26-year-old male dolphin has fully recovered with the help of the park’s veterinarians and animal care experts who are on call 365/24/7. In partnership with state, local and federal agencies, stranding networks, zoos and aquariums, the SeaWorld rescue team works tirelessly and has come to the aide of more than 36 thousand sick, injured and orphaned animals in need, giving them a second chance at life.
This dolphin was rescued in late July of 2019 in the Florida Keys by Dolphin Plus Marine Mammal Responder. Stranded and found weak in shallow waters, he was rescued before being transported to the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue facility. After undergoing diagnostic tests, SeaWorld’s team of experts found the dolphin had pneumonia and significant weight loss. During his several months at SeaWorld, he received around the clock care from SeaWorld’s dedicated veterinary and animal care teams and has made a full recovery.
“We are very pleased with this dolphin’s healthy recovery given the state upon which he arrived,” shared Jon Peterson, Vice President of Zoological Operations at SeaWorld Orlando, whose team cared for the dolphin during rehabilitation. “This story has been a true collaboration and we are thankful to have worked closely with many dedicated partners. We are so proud to have led both the rehabilitation and successful transport to his new home.”
In early spring, National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) granted conditional approval to return the dolphin to the ocean and the SeaWorld team began the process to prepare including a painless dorsal marking for identification as a previous rescue. As the return was delayed due to COVID-19 partner closures, the SeaWorld veterinary team continued to care for the dolphin and detected the presence of a new infection (SeaWorld is one of a few facilities in the world with the ability to detect this particular condition). As a result of their diligence and commitment to marine mammal care, the dolphin was re-examined and NOAA altered return approval.
It is always SeaWorld’s goal to release rescued animals back to the wild, however based on the results of the new health assessment, and hearing tests conducted by NOAA personnel, the dolphin was determined to be non-releaseable.
The dolphin was transported by SeaWorld to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to reside with another Atlantic male bottlenose dolphin who has also been deemed non-releasable by NOAA.
NOAA encourages people to report sightings of dead, injured, or entangled dolphins and whales to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).
Footage of rescued cetaceans is produced by SeaWorld under the National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Response Program.