After five months of rehab, a young common dolphin named TJ who was rescued on a beach near Tijuana this spring is back in the ocean after being given a second chance at life at SeaWorld.
Fitted with a satellite transmitter prior to being returned to the wild in early October, TJ was last monitored swimming more than 300 miles west of San Diego.
The male dolphin, estimated to be approximately one year old, was near death when he arrived at the park’s animal care center on May 14. Severely dehydrated, malnourished and unable to swim on his own, SeaWorld’s animal care and veterinary staff were concerned.
“The dolphin’s health was compromised,” said Dr. Todd Schmitt, SeaWorld’s senior veterinarian. “His body condition was poor, he was initially unresponsive, and he was unable to swim or eat. Although we knew he was very ill, we immediately began medical treatment to try to pull him back from the edge.”
Because he was unable to swim on his own, the park’s animal care team designed a special floatation device for TJ to give him buoyancy in the water.
After providing him broad spectrum of antibiotics, the struggling dolphin was tube-fed a solution of electrolytes as well as a nutrient-rich formula to help rehydrate and stabilize his condition. Working in four-hour shifts, SeaWorld’s team of skilled animal care specialists spent 24 hours a day in a pool with TJ fighting to keep him alive.
Slowly TJ began to eat fish, gain weight and return to good health. He was returned to the ocean Oct. 8 off the coast of San Diego.
–This information was provided and written by SeaWorld.