CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas —
A stranded dolphin calf was rescued near Rockport, Texas, this summer and is now recovering at the Texas State Aquarium's Wildlife Rescue Center.
According to Texas State Aquarium COO Jesse Gilbert, the calf is estimated to be between one-and-a-half and two years old and was discovered north of Goose Island State Park. He was found after two weeks and taken to the Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Pool, where he is currently living.
"The reports we've gotten is that mom and calf were stranded in a lagoon when the tide went out," Gilbert said. "So mom passed away, and he was in a shallow lagoon. There most likely was shrimp and fish for him to hunt on, but had he been there much longer, I don't think he would have survived."
The dolphin calf appeared to be severely malnourished upon discovery. However, after subsequent testing, he had no additional medical issues.
"When we found him, he came in pretty emaciated and skinny," Gilbert said. "And when a dolphin is malnourished, you can actually see it in their head area—it's a pretty predominant look to them. So, aside from just getting the weights and comparing the length to where he should be weight wise, he just looked really, really thin."
The dolphin gained 80 pounds in four months and transitioned from a diet of formulated milk to full-size fish. Gilbert said the dolphin calf has transformed in appearance since the rescue and that TSA is in the process of finding him a permanent home.
When asked if Corpus Christi was one of those options for the dolphin calf's new home, Gilbert said TSA is considering all options.
"It's an incredible story. [He's] a really great ambassador for the local ecosystem. So we're still kind of having those conversations. I can't say we're ruling it out, but we want to make sure it's what's best for the dolphin."
For now, the dolphin calf is under constant supervision as he continues to make his full recovery.
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