Orlando: A rough-toothed dolphin is settling into his new home at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach after a lengthy six-month rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando. The 225 pound dolphin, measuring over seven feet in length was originally rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in June. After rescue, he was transported to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitative care.
It was apparent the dolphin was extremely weak upon his arrival at SeaWorld. Animal rescue team members placed him in a quarantine pool where he was treated with fluids, nutrition, and antibiotics by veterinarians. The animal’s every breath was monitored by animal care experts along with his physical activity. SeaWorld’s experts walked alongside him in the rehabilitation pool 24 hours a day as he was too weak to swim on his own. Until he gained enough strength, dedicated team members made sure his blowhole was kept at the surface to make breathing easier.
The dolphin’s weakened state was contributed to by digestive tract blockages. It was discovered initially that he had ingested a marine sponge. The team then requested a hearing test to be performed in an attempt to pinpoint the original cause of his stranding. The test revealed to experts at SeaWorld and the National Marine Mammal Foundation that this animal has significant hearing loss, which is likely the cause for his stranding on Clearwater Beach.
Acute hearing is crucial to the communication and survival of dolphins in the wild. Therefore, due to the significant disability in this animal’s ability to hear, it was deemed by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the rough-toothed dolphin would require long-term care at Gulf World by Dolphin Discovery in Panama City Beach, FL.
Gulf World is the only facility in North America to house rough-toothed dolphins in long term human care. The rescued dolphin, officially named Stan, is now living alongside five other rough-toothed dolphins who were also rescued and deemed non-releasable.
Secret Holmes-Douglas, the zoological director at Gulf World said, “Stan is acclimating well to his new environment and his new companions.
Gulf World Marine Institute operates under the umbrella of Gulf World by Dolphin Discovery as a 501c3 nonprofit and has served as the only long-term marine mammal rehabilitation facility in Northern Florida.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 27,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than five decades.
Respected zoological facilities offer Stan and thousands of animals like him a second, sometimes even third chance at life through professional animal rescue programs.
As members of the public, we are an extension of these marine mammal rescue networks. If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.