huntsville, alabama, city

Dolphin rescued from pond after being trapped by Hurricane Laura storm surge

On September 9, Audubon Coastal Wildlife Network (CWN) and Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN), with assistance from National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement, responded to a stranded dolphin in Cameron Parish. Locals reported the female bottlenose dolphin was trapped in a pond 9 miles inland, most likely due to the storm surge created by Hurricane Laura, with no access to open water. 

Once CWN, TMMSN, and NOAA responders arrived onsite and assessed the situation, a successful rescue effort ensued. Following a physical exam, the dolphin was deemed releasable and transported back to the Gulf of Mexico. 

“This was a multi-day and multi-organizational effort to rescue, transport, and release this bottlenose dolphin,” said Audubon Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding, Rescue, and Rehab Coordinator Gabriella Harlamert. “All these agencies came together for the common goal of making a positive impact on the natural world.” 

CWN anticipates more reports of animal strandings in the coming months in relation to the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. Hurricanes may result in increased marine mammal strandings due to storm surge and coastal flooding. It is possible for live marine mammals to strand on the beach or be further inland in waterways they usually are not found.  

Please report all stranded marine mammals and sea turtles (live or dead) to CWN at (504) 235-3005.

When reporting strandings be prepared to give: 

  • Location and coordinates 
  • Photographs of the animal 
  • Nature of the report (live/dead/size, etc.) 

If you report a live stranded animal please: 

  • Keep crowds away and noise levels down to avoid causing stress to the animal
  • Don’t push the animal back into the water to relocate it 
  • Leave all entanglements that may be present on the animal 

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