Hurricane-displaced dolphin finds new home

September 2, 2009 10:40:23 AM PDT
As the one-year Hurricane Ike anniversary approaches, Toby, a hurricane-displaced dolphin will begin a new chapter in his life. The juvenile stranded dolphin came to the Moody Gardens holding facility in January this year and was recently moved to his new home in Florida.The wild bottlenose dolphin was found stranded off the coast of Corpus Christi back in November 2008 and was rescued by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN). Moody Gardens offered the wounded juvenile dolphin a temporary home during his rehabilitation after the Galveston's TMMSN facility sustained considerable damage caused by Hurricane Ike.

"We were happy to help TMMSN with rehabilitation of this animal," said Animal Husbandry Manager Greg Whittaker, who expressed appreciation for the numerous Association of Zoos and Aquarium members who continue to support Moody Gardens animals after the storm. "We know firsthand how important it is to help each other out in a time of need."

This was the second time Moody Gardens partnered with TMMSN which rescues and rehabilitates stranded marine animals on the Texas Gulf Coast. After the male dolphin arrived at Moody Gardens, TMMSN and Moody Gardens staff and volunteers devoted thousands of hours in its care around the clock. Although Toby gained healthy weight and made other remarkable health improvements, he was deemed non-releasable due to his young age and medical conditions.

The transport took place late August, and Toby was successfully moved on a small charter airplane from Moody Gardens to Florida. Theater of the Sea in Florida Keys will be his permanent home. The facility is home to a number of other dolphins with whom Toby can become acquainted, including a matriarch dolphin which is considered to be beneficial as he matures. For more information, call 1-800-582-4673 or visit moodygardens.org.

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