Posted by: The ocean update | September 2, 2015

Pair of mystery whales found beached in Waveland ; fighting for their lives at IMMS (Mississippi, USA)

Electra-dolphin-MississippiSeptember 2nd, 2015 (James Skrmetta). GULFPORT — The staff at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport is working around the clock as a mysterious pair of whales, their species unseen in South Mississippi for 40 years, fight for survival.

“I’ve been here for 40 years and never seen anything like this,” IMMS director Moby Solangi said. “We are pretty much working in the unknown.”

A local fisherman called IMMS on Tuesday morning when he saw what he thought was two dead dolphins on the beach in Waveland.

“The rescue team was quite surprised when they got there,” Solangi said. “Not only were they not dead, they weren’t dolphins.” (Ndlr Sibylline : they are dolphins, the other name is electra dolphin (Peponocephala electra)).

Two melon-headed whales were fighting for their lives, stranded on the beach when rescuers arrived. Melon-headed whales are native to deep waters near Hawaii, officials said.

“More than likely, these two juveniles were chasing fish and got about 200 miles off course,” said Tim Hoffland, veterinarian. “This is definitely the first time anyone here has seen one.”

Solangi said the whales are in critical condition — severely dehydrated, disoriented and unable to swim on their own.

“If someone isn’t with them, they will drown,” he said. “One also is suffering from a shark bite and is barely hanging on.”

Shifts rotate every four hours to cradle the whales in their pool and feed them fish. The team has to wait 24 to 48 hours for blood results so they can know exactly what is ailing the whales.

“We are treating them for everything right now,” Solangi said. “The goal is to keep them stable until we can target the real threat.”

Hoffland said the whales are youngsters, with about three more years until they are fully mature. (Ndlr Sibylline : does it means that Hoffland is preparing us to accept a future captivity for those animals ? In Spain, this WE (link), a 2 weeks calf has been released in a pod of its specie and has been adopted. So, keep a melon-headed whale (which are dolphins too) too much time, it’s condemn it… to fatten the business !)

“They can grow to 9 feet and about 600 pounds,” he said. “We just have to get them through this.”

Solangi said he believes the whales would have died on the beach in Waveland if IMMS did not have the ability to care for them.

“They are lucky to have been stranded so close to our facility,” he said. “Without our veterinarians, employees and technology, they would certainly be dead.”

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