A juvenile male bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) was found stranded for multiple hours on the beach in Grand Isle, LA. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) was contacted by a member of the public about the stranded dolphin. LDWF then called the Coastal Wildlife Network’s (CWN) Stranding and Rescue Program to assess the animal’s needs. Once CWN stranding staff arrived an initial assessment was completed of the animal. He appeared to be lethargic and was taking short, shallow breathes. LDWF and CWN staff attempted to release the animal back into the Gulf of Mexico but the animal failed to swim on his own. CWN staff determined the animal needed to be brought back to the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC) for rehabilitation.
After initial intake assessment at the Audubon Aquatic Center (AAC) the animal was able to swim on his own. Twenty-four hour watches were established to monitor swimming, breathing rate, and overall health and behavior of the animal. These twenty four hour observation shifts were carried out for weeks after the animal was brought in. The animal continues to hit milestones in his recovery—such as eating without assistance, gaining weight, playing with enrichment toys thrown into the pool, and passing an AEP hearing test.
On April 28, 2016 with the coordination of NOAA and partnership with LDWF, Octavius was released back into the wild! This marks the first time in Louisiana history that a rehabilitated dolphin was released back into the wild!
Watch videos below to follow Octavius’ story through rehabilitation!
If you see a sick or injured marine mammal or sea turtle call the CWN Stranding Hotline at 504-235-3005.