FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — The Gulf World Marine Institute says a young bottlenose dolphin is being treated at a facility in Panama City Beach after being found in Fort Walton Beach.
The young marine mammal weighing only 76 pounds was spotted by the public on Jan. 3. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions alerted the Florida Panhandle marine mammal response crew and staff from the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge assed the dolphin.
GWMI says the young male became stranded after intense storms and the public did the right thing by not pushing him back out into the Gulf.
The dolphin is undergoing rehab at GWMI and will be monitored 24/7. GWMI says he is still in the bottle feeding age and staff is working to nurse him back to health.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
There is a large cost with rehabilitating these animals and is asking for donations to help.
Marine mammal rehabilitation efforts are extensive and expensive, and any help is appreciated; marine mammal rehabilitation can cost over $10,000 in the first week alone.Gulf World Marine Institute
The dolphin is also undergoing lab treatment to see if any infection led to the stranding.
If you see a marine animal in distress (dolphin, whale, manatee, or sea turtle) please call FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).