Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dolphins survival story

Our sister station, WLOX in Biloxi, was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but somehow managed to remain on the air during the entire ordeal. A number of Newswatch staffers have helped them out during this crisis. Drew Speier and Scott Galloway filed this story of survival during their time in Biloxi.

"We're heading to where the dolphins are at the west tip of the pier."

Moby Solangi, the president of Marine Life Oceanarium, is talking about these dolphins...six females and two males. All part of an incredible story of survival from Hurricane Katrina.
The dolphins were left behind here. Not much is left of their home at Marine Life in Gulfport Harbor. But then, somehow, just over a week after the storm, they were sighted.

Solangi picks up the story from there. "They showed up, ten days later, I mean we had been looking and I'm in a helicopter flying out, boom. What the heck is that?"

Trainers from Marine Life have been coming out to the dolphins several times a day feeding them and giving them medical attention and at some point they are going to capture these eight dolphins and bring them back home.

But experts with the NOAA fisheries are waiting for the right time to do so. NOAA expert Jeff Foster says, "That's correct, yea we've been working with them the last four days and we're trying to get some food into them now, trying to build their strength and we're also medicating them so they're in good shape. We're also doing some conditioning so we can acquire them a little easier."

The dolphins don't seem to mind waiting. They'll continue to stay together a few hundred yards off shore. And while they may be a little battered and bruised, they seem to be doing just swimmingly.

The day after our story aired, two of the dolphins were rescued and and two more were captured a short time later. And just Wednesday, the final four were recovered by personnel from NOAA fisheries. All eight are doing fine and are spending their time right now swimming around in saltwater tanks provided by the U.S. Navy.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"