Young dolphin rescued and reunited with mom (includes video story)

A three-year-old dolphin that was trapped in Volusia County was finally rescued after a three-week rescue mission. 

According to Hubbs Research Institute, the dolphin was stuck in shallow oyster beds that prevented exit. Dolphins are social animals and being alone as a young dolphin is considered a threat to their health. 

Teresa Jablonski, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Scientist, said the institute had been familiar with the dolphin and its mother since early February. They had been following the pair based on their markings. Then several weeks ago, they got a word of a lone dolphin swimming beneath the barrier to initiate the rescue.

“We were constantly on the radio communicating with each other organizing where we each needed to be, having folks that were skilled in the water with wet suits, booties, life vests,” Jablonski shared. 

The young female dolphin was then successfully rescued after more than 21 days and three attempted tries. However, veterinarians concluded that she sustained life-threatening injuries. 

“She had a deteriorating body condition, she had skin lesions. her right flipper was badly entangled in braided fishing line and wire and that had been there for some time, so it was deeply embedded,” said Jablonski.

After receiving the right treatment, the dolphin recovered sufficiently and was released back into the wild. The dolphins’ mother showed up just in time — on Mother’s Day. 

“We spotted a couple of dolphins off in the distance and as we approached, we realized she had reunited with her mother, so that was so cool,” said Jablonski. 

Scientists at Hubbs Research have stated they will return to the Intracoastal to check on the 3-year-old dolphin and ensure she is safe and well.

Zitlali Solache is a student in Florida International University, pursuing her Masters degree in Spanish-Language Broadcast Journalism. Zitlali Solache is Mexican American and has a passion for storytelling and news. She has interned for WPBT PBS, WSVN Channel 7 and STEP Univision. After graduation, Zitlali aspires to become a reporter/anchor in her hometown Miami, FL.