“Operation Free Flipper” Teams Rush To Help Dolphin Stranded In Drainage Canal.

two women taking care of a dolphin laying on the ground

Hurricane Ida greatly affected the people of Louisiana, but it had a major impact on local wildlife, too.

Once the storm passed through the city of Slidell, reports that a dolphin was caught in their drainage canal began to spread. The poor creature needed to be rescued ASAP, and it would take a huge team to make it happen.

Multiple agencies came together for the rescue mission. In fact, this massive effort even earned a nickname, “Operation Free Flipper.” Some of the parties involved included NOAA Fisheries Service, the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, and the National Marine Mammal Foundation.

They started off by having a group of rescuers use kayak paddles to create waves in the water. In doing so, they hoped to guide the dolphin toward a net.

Thankfully, the frightened dolphin did exactly that! Once he was secure, they were able to get him in a water tank that was located inside a van.

From there, it was time to examine the exhausted dolphin so he could hopefully be released back into the ocean.

At an estimated 2.5 to 3 years old, this 6-foot long bottlenose dolphin had endured a pretty tough week. Luckily, his visit to the veterinarian finally gave him some good news: He was healthy enough to go back home!

“He swam off, healthy and good,” said Jon Peterson, a member of the SeaWorld Rescue Team. “It was a success.”

If you’re curious about where the dolphin is now, you’re not alone. Before they released him back into the ocean, they attached a satellite tag onto the adorable creature so local teams, such as the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, could track his movements.

“If it looks off or like he’s in trouble we’ll send crews out to intervene,” Jon added.

It’s so beautiful to see people going to such great lengths to care for all the incredible animals we share our planet with! Keep up the great work!

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