The neonatal bottlenose dolphin rescued July 20 on Clearwater Beach will reside permanently at SeaWorld Orlando, park administrators announced.
Although the young male is swimming on its own and feeding from a bottle, it has been deemed non-releasable by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “because of its young age and size upon rescue, and lack of critical skills needed to survive on his own.”
ADDITIONAL READING: Rescue on Clearwater Beach: Another dolphin tale
The dolphin was discovered in shallow water beneath Clearwater’s Pier 60, its body wrapped in the lines of a crab trap. A nearby lifeguard freed the tiny animal, and cradled it until rescuers from Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) arrived.
An adult dolphin many believed must be the concerned mother was seen swimming in circles near the pier, but by the time rescuers arrived, it had disappeared.
Once it was determined that the weak and traumatized baby could not swim on its own, NOAA directed CMA administrators to remove the animal for transport to the extensive Marine Mammal Stranding Network rehabilitation center at SeaWorld.
According to a statement released Monday, “The dolphin arrived at SeaWorld in a catatonic state – suffering from pneumonia, serious injuries and life-threatening electrolyte levels – and has reached stable, but critical condition after nine weeks of intensive care.”
SeaWorld is crowdsourcing a name for the young dolphin here.