CLEARWATER, Fla. — Clearwater Marine Aquarium is now the forever home to another rescue dolphin.
The 26-year-old male, who has not yet been named, is living with the marine rescue facility's only other male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, Nicholas.
The new dolphin was rescued in late July 2019 in the Florida Keys by Dolphin Plus Marine Mammal Responder.
He was found stranded and weak in shallow waters. He was taken to the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue facility, where he was treated for pneumonia and significant weight loss.
In early spring, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association (NOAA) granted conditional approval to return the dolphin to the wild. But, when the return was delayed due to coronavirus-related closures, the veterinary team at SeaWorld detected a new infection. This led to the dolphin being re-examined.
"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," SeaWorld explained in an email.
Since then, the dolphin has been transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and introduced to Nicholas, who was also deemed non-releasable.
The new dolphin weighs 700 pounds. Guests will be invited to help name him.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium reopened to guests on May 15 after a roughly 60-day closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Like all the rescued animals at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we are looking forward to providing the best care possible for this dolphin,” CEO Frank Dame said. “He will have a loving and enriching home here at CMA and we’re so proud to be selected by National Marine Fisheries Service to care for him. I’d like to thank the teams at NMFS, SeaWorld, and Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder for rescuing and caring for this incredible animal.”
The NOAA asks anyone who sees injured dolphins or whales to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).
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