A juvenile female bottlenose dolphin was found stranded on June 28 on the beach near Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach. The dolphin was rescued and taken to Gulf World Marine Institute (GWMI) for testing and treatment.
The dolphin is still in critical condition and being treated by GWMI staff veterinarian Dr. Staggs at the Institute. It appears that the rough surf caused salt water and sand got to enter into the blowhole causing aspiration pneumonia. This was not the cause of her stranding but a complication from the beaching process.
When a dolphin strands it is already severely ill and it beaches itself as a last ditch effort to survive. The dolphin had a rough night but is improving slightly this morning. Along with her pneumonia and severe lung worm infection she is also severely anemic. She is being tended to 24 hours a day to ensure the best possible chance of survival.
The dolphin rescue operation was assisted by Bay County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and Gulf World Marine Institute.
If you see a stranded dolphin along the beach follow these steps to get help:
- First and foremost, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 24 hr Hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or call Gulf World Marine Park’s stranding line at 850-258-6968.
- Get the animal upright and make sure that the blowhole is out of the water. If it is stranded in rough waters, move it slightly on shore so that the waves are not breaking over its blowhole.
- Never push a beached dolphin back into the water.
Panama City Beach’s longstanding educational facility, Gulf World Marine Park, pulls double duty as the Area Coordinator for the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network. And when Gulf World’s team of experts isn’t out rescuing dolphins and sea turtles, they’re educating kids and kids-at-heart about the fascinating animals with which we share our planet.
Gulf World Marine Park works with non-profit Gulf World Marine Institute to respond to sick, injured or stranded animals, rehabilitate and release them into the wild and serve as an educational resource to schools throughout our area. The Institute has rescued thousands of sick and debilitated marine animals since 1970. Learn more about their important work and consider donating to support stranding nad rescue program at www.gulfworldmarineinstitute.org.
Gulf World Marine Park is located at 15412 Front Beach Road in Panama City Beach. The park is open daily from 9:30 am-6 pm. For show times, pricing and information, please visit www.gulfworldmarinepark.com or call (850) 234-5271.
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