Oct 28

Stranded Melon-headed Whale Being Cared For by SeaWorld Orlando

Earlier this afternoon, an animal rescue team from SeaWorld (R) Orlando, working with experts from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., transported a juvenile melon-headed whale from Mote Marine Laboratory’s Dolphin and Whale Hospital to SeaWorld’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility where it will receive long-term care.

The whale was found stranded on Manasota Key, on the west coast of Florida, on October 23. Mote staff and volunteers provided medical care and support for the whale during the most critical time period following its stranding. The whale, nicknamed Dante by Mote staff, received around-the-clock medical care at Mote, which stabilized its condition and allowed veterinarians to begin treating the animal for pneumonia and gastroenteritis.

Once the animal was stabilized — and with the approval of the federal agency that oversees the care and protection of marine mammals — Dante was transferred today to SeaWorld Orlando, which has a new pool and larger facilities required to support Dante’s need for longer-term rehabilitation.

The whale – about six and a half feet long – seemed comfortable after the trip and was acclimating to his new pool. SeaWorld vets will take blood samples and staff will monitor the young whale. The park’s experts are cautious about the animal’s prognosis but credit the animal’s good condition to the quality of urgent care received at Mote.

Melon-headed whales are normally found in deep, tropical waters including the Gulf of Mexico. Adult melon-headed whales can grown to nearly 10 feet in length and more than 400 lbs.

It is unknown why this whale stranded.

SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team is on-call, 24/7. The SeaWorld parks have helped animals in need -- ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned -- for more than four decades. Nearly 22,000 animals have been rescued by the park’s animal experts including whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, manatees, sea turtles and birds. This is the equivalent of helping one animal a day -- every day -- for 45 years. The majority of these animals are successfully treated by SeaWorld veterinarians, rehabilitated and returned to the wild.