40 Good Samaritans Give Dolphin New Chance at Life

A little dolphin is swimming easy this week after being rescued from the north section of the Perdido River by some good samaritans.

The dolphin wasn’t stranded on the shore or hit by a boat. This salt water loving guy had spent too much time swimming in fresh water and got stuck — the channel out was too shallow. As a result, lesions formed on the dolphin’s skin as a visual sign of distress.

“It’s actually the cells, the skin cells are bursting,” said Noel Wingers, a member of Rescue Team and the Coordinator for Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network (ALMMSN). “So the lesions are actually necrotic, or dead tissue but it kind of looks like little mats of algae on the animal.”

A team of 40 dolphin experts, including biologists and veterinarians from Sea World and various other rescue services in Alabama and Florida, showed up to help move the dolphin back into salt water. He was tagged and sent on his merry way into Perdido Bay.

Wingers plans to monitor the animal in his new habitat. She will be checking for signs that he is progressing in its health in the saltwater, and that the freshwater lesions will clear up. This normally happens when a dolphin is returned to saltwater.

Stranded dolphins can be a common problem in spring, as many dolphin calves are born during this time of year. Experts agree that this dolphin would not have been freed if it weren’t for the local residents reporting what they saw.

Even though 44% of Americans don’t know basic water safety skills, we sometimes forget that animals may need saving in the water, too. Wildlife experts encourage that if you see an animal in distress to contact a rescue team right away.