© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First-of-its-kind dolphin rehab center in Orleans successfully treats first patient

IFAW veterinarian Sarah Sharp treats a dolphin in a custom-built dolphin transport truck.
Andrea Spence / IFAW
IFAW veterinarian Sarah Sharp treats a dolphin in a custom-built dolphin transport truck.

One lucky dolphin is back at sea after becoming the first-ever patient successfully treated at a new short-term marine mammal rehab center in Orleans.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare found a 5-year-old common dolphin stranded on a Brewster beach and transported the animal to the organization’s new Dolphin Rescue Center.

There, Dr. Sarah Sharp, IFAW’s animal rescue veterinarian, confirmed he was suffering from shock, aspiration, and other ailments.

For 20 hours, a team of staff and volunteers gave him round-the-clock supportive care.

"He was very weak to begin with," she said. "And as we walked him around the pool, gave him some additional fluids and some medications to keep him calm, we were able to see him improve."

Before the center opened this fall, the organization had only about an hour to treat stranded animals out of a transport van. Sharp said she probably would have put this animal down if that was all they had.

"I feel fairly confident that this animal would not have survived had our volunteers not done amazing things and gotten this animal righted and out of the surf as quickly as they did. And if we didn't have this facility to be able to provide that additional care for that animal, his fate would have been very different," she concluded.

The dolphin has since been successfully released back to the water —  and outfitted with a temporary satellite tag.

Now, the IFAW team is preparing for their next patient and seeking volunteers at the rehab center before a new training session begins in April.

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content