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Last night, Tuesday, July 26 the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team began round-the-clock care for a critically ill pygmy killer whale that beached itself off the west coast of Florida.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) directed the dolphin to be sent to SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue facility.
A pygmy killer whale is extremely rare to find in shallow waters near the coast and even rarer to see beached and in need of rescuing. These whales are typically found in deep waters, in tropical environments and traveling in groups of 10 to 30. They share similar physical characteristics of a killer whale, which is how they get their name – pygmy killer whale.
The female dolphin arrived at SeaWorld’s Rescue Facility around 4:00pm yesterday and weighed 255 pounds and is 210cm long.
The dolphin appeared to have struggled through a jagged oyster bed and was beached for some time during the mid-day heat wave, exposing it to the harsh rays resulting in dehydration.
Upon arrival, the dolphin was placed in a quarantine area where the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team and veterinarians provided immediate treatment and care including, fluids and antibiotics. The dolphin came to SeaWorld with a zinc oxide coating on her skin to help protect it from the sun exposure she endured.
“The animal is in guarded condition at this time,” says Jon Peterson Assistant Curator of Animal Care for SeaWorld Orlando. “When an animal comes into our care this critical, the first 48 hours are crucial and we take every measure to stabilize the animal. We remain cautiously optimistic at this time for improvement.”
Currently the rescue team is in the pool with her monitoring her minute-by-minute to support and help her navigate while swimming.
The dolphin will continue to receive round-the-clock care from the animal care team and more treatment will be administered if needed once results come back from blood work.