On Tuesday, November 10 2009, in the aftermath of hurricane Ida, a male, juvenile Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was found stranded on a remote beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Local officials contacted the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS), the designated marine mammal stranding response organization for the area. Upon arrival, the IMMS team found the 190 lb. dolphin stranded 150 yards from the water line. The dolphin had been out of the water for at least 4 hours but his vital signs were stable. Without blood testing, there was no way to accurately assess the health of the dolphin. Because he was lethargic and very weak, veterinarian Dr. Connie Chevis determined that the dolphin should be transported to the Center for Marine Education and Research for a thorough examination and monitoring.
After collecting numerous medical diagnostic samples, the dolphin was placed in a temporary quarantine pool. When the dolphin entered the pool staff members were in the water to assist the animal if necessary. To everyone’s relief, he quickly became accustomed to its new environment. Throughout the night, the dolphin swam calmly and his breathing became more regular. As a precaution, the dolphin was placed under 24 hour watch and staff and volunteers took shifts watching him throughout the night. We are currently awaiting the results of various tests and will continue to treat the dolphin as we learn more.