Stranded melon-headed whale being cared for by SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando Whale

Brant Gabriel, from SeaWorld’s animal rescue team, cares for Dante, a juvenile melon-headed whale that was found stranded on a west Florida beach on October 23. The whale was rescued by Mote Marine Laboratory and had been receiving urgent attention before being transported to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility on Friday, October 28, 2011. Experts are cautious about the animal’s prognosis.  SeaWorld’s animal care team is on call 24/7 to rescue injured, orphaned or ill marine mammals.

An animal rescue team from SeaWorld Orlando is 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.

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