Some of the victims of Hurricane Katrina are not human. Marine life in city aquariums were washed away when the hurricane hit. A group of eight dolphins from those aquariums were sighted this week off the shores of Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico.
The dolphins made the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport their home. During the storm a 40 foot wave crashed into their park sweeping away the dolphins all other life within the park.
The dolphins were sighted by NOAA Fishery Service scientists September 10th. When found, the dolphins were starving. Some sustained physical injuries due to the ordeal. Because the dolphins have lived so long in captivity, their trainers worried they would not survive predators or man made machines in the ocean waters. They don’t have the necessary foraging skills to fend for themselves. It was vital to rescue them before they perished.
The dolphins are greeted each day by their trainers and NOAA scientists. They feed them several times a day. They are being captured in stages. On Thursday, two of the dolphins were coaxed into a boat. These two were determined to be in the most danger as they had serious injuries. The two rescued dolphins were taken to their temporary digs at a hotel swimming pool.
On Saturday, another rescue mission will set out. They hope to retrieve the rest of the dolphins once the Navy provides the salt water tanks necessary to move them. All of the dolphins will be kept under quarantine in the hotel swimming pool until their health has been assessed and it’s determined whether they carry any contagious diseases.
The rescue has been a joint effort between local scientiests, trainers from the Oceanarium, the NOAA, the Coast Guard, and the Navy.
[Photo Credit: NOAA]