Baby dolphin rescued in July from Clearwater Beach to remain in SeaWorld’s care after NOAA deems him not to be released; public invited to vote for their new name online | Company

  • A baby dolphin, rescued July 20 after fatal injuries resulting from entanglement in crab traps, is in critical but stable condition and continues to improve after 24/7 intensive care at SeaWorld for almost nine weeks
  • Because the dolphin lacks the essential skills needed to survive on its own due to its young age and size at rescue, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determines that it is not releasable.
  • SeaWorld’s ability to meet and exceed the unique social and medical needs of the dolphin is a major factor in NOAA’s placement decision.
  • The public can help choose his new name now online at and come see him in the park in the coming weeks


ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — SeaWorld Orlando announced today that a newborn dolphin rescued from Clearwater Beach, Florida in July will remain in its care after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that he could not survive on his own due to his lack of survival skills due to his young age and size at the time of the rescue. NOAA placed the dolphin with SeaWorld for long-term care due to its ability to meet and exceed the dolphin’s unique social and medical needs necessary for it to thrive. The public is invited to help choose their new name in an online poll that opens today at The survey closes Monday, September 26 at 5 p.m. EST.

“We have nearly 60 years of experience in the care and study of dolphins at all ages and throughout their lives, from birth to geriatric care, and this knowledge and expertise is what makes recovery possible. extraordinary like these,” said Jon Peterson, Vice President. zoological operations at SeaWorld Orlando. “We are very grateful to the rescuers who first spotted this little guy struggling in the water under the pier and called the authorities for help. We are also grateful to our partners at the Southeast Stranding Network who managed the rescue and entrusted him to our care. Although he still has a long way to go to fully recover, we are proud of the great progress he has made so far. He has won the hearts of everyone and we’re thrilled to invite animal lovers everywhere to vote for their favorite name and join us on her journey of hope and resilience.”

“Caring for rescued dolphins over the long term requires a great deal of commitment from experienced and dedicated professionals,” said Erin Fougères, Marine Mammal Stranding Program Administrator at NOAA Fisheries Southeast. “We are grateful for the continued support of organizations like SeaWorld and other members of the Southeast Region Marine Mammal Stranding Network, without whom these stories of rescue and survival would not be possible.”

Baby dolphin remains in critical but stable condition as his prognosis continues to improve

The dolphin’s age was estimated to be two months or less when he was found struggling and tangled in the remains of trap lines on July 20, 2022.

Once freed from the entanglement by members of the Southeast Stranding Network, they attempted to release the dolphin into open water to reunite with its mother who did not return. Unfortunately, the dolphin was unable to swim on its own, and after consulting with NOAA, it was decided that the dolphin required off-site rehabilitation.

Believed to be a newborn, the rescued big nose weighed around 57 pounds (mature adults weigh over 300 pounds) with no erupted teeth and was still nursing. Although breathing on his own upon arrival at SeaWorld, he was unresponsive and in a coma. He was immediately transferred to intensive care and less than 30 minutes later, SeaWorld’s on-site lab and veterinary team diagnosed the cause of his catatonic condition, isolating his critical condition from a life-threatening electrolyte imbalance, pneumonia and severe fin injuries caused by lack of blood circulation due to the restrictive lines he had become entangled in.

Veterinary and animal care specialist teams worked around the clock, providing hour-by-hour critical medical care, adjusting water salinity and walking with him in the pool supporting his weight until he regains the strength to swim alone. He learned to take a bottle for special formula feedings for neonatal dolphins developed by SeaWorld. The dolphin has been receiving this specialized care from SeaWorld veterinary staff for nearly nine weeks. He continues to make progress in his physical recovery, recovering from his respiratory illness and undergoing medical procedures to remove necrotic tissue resulting from his injuries. He has gained over 10 pounds since arriving.

Dolphin rehabilitation is a complex and complex process

Rehabilitation and medical treatments are highly specialized and challenging due to various factors including logistics, physiology and anatomy. The experience gained from providing care to such a diverse set of species, critical care to rescued animals, and specialist care to neonatal and geriatric cases, as is typical in a zoological environment like SeaWorld, provides insight and knowledge on the general health and welfare needs of animals that cannot be replicated by animal study outside of human care alone.

Compared to other species, rehabilitation of dolphins is extremely difficult due to the fragile nature of dolphin health and the high mortality rates that dolphins face when sick or injured. The first two weeks of dolphin rehabilitation are critical and are usually indicative of the dolphin’s prognosis. Through years of extensive research and experience, SeaWorld has revitalized the dolphin admissions process and developed a unique system of dolphin care that involves performing tests and medical procedures immediately after admission, dramatically increasing survival rate of rescued dolphins. SeaWorld animal care experts have found that using minimal assistive techniques and encouraging dolphins to use their own muscle mass helps dolphins build strength and leads to increased rates of successful rehabilitation. Through this process, SeaWorld veterinarians and animal care experts were able to help the dolphin swim on its own and learn to bottle feed relatively quickly.

Once he has fully recovered physically and reached an ideal weight, the dolphin will leave his intensive care tank where he is monitored 24/7 to join a resident pod of dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando with whom he is combatable. Assimilation into a social group will help him develop interpersonal skills and provide him with the interactions he needs to thrive. When he is installed in his new pod, the public will be invited to come and see him in the park.

SeaWorld’s goal is always to return rescued animals to their natural environment. However, certain health conditions can make survival without human care unlikely or impossible. In these cases, wildlife authorities determine if an animal can be returned and if not, accredited zoos and aquariums, like SeaWorld, provide long-term care and permanent homes for those in need. .

This dolphin’s situation, while tragic, is not an isolated incident and serves as an important reminder of the dangers ‘ghost fishing’ poses to marine animal life. Fishing nets, traps, longlines, ropes and other gear lost or abandoned in the ocean trap and kill thousands of marine animals every year. It is essential that the public do their part to maintain clean and safe waters – free of debris, litter and fishing gear – to ensure the safety and health of marine wildlife.

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is a leading theme park and entertainment company delivering experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s leading zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, breeding and veterinary care. The Society collectively cares for what it considers to be one of the greatest zoological collections in the world and has helped advance animal care. The Society also rescues and rehabilitates sick, injured, orphaned or abandoned marine and land animals, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® Rescue Team has helped more than 40,000 animals in need over the company’s history. SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. owns or licenses a portfolio of trusted brands, including SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens®, Aquatica®, Sesame Place® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 60-year history, the company has built a diverse portfolio of 12 regional destinations and theme parks that are clustered in key markets across the United States, many of which feature its unique zoological collection in its gender. The Company’s theme parks offer a diverse range of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal that provide memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

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