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The first dolphin to be rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild in Louisiana is doing well after six weeks of monitoring.
It's all thanks to the Audubon Nature Institute and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), in conjunction with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and the Chicago Zoological Society's Sarasota Dolphin Research Program.
Back in October of 2015, the LDWF responded to a call about a juvenile dolphin stranded on Grand Isle Beach. It is suspected that high water and rough seas after Hurricane Patricia led to the dolphin becoming stranded. The dolphin was then transported to Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans, where it made progress in the following months.
The dolphin was affectionately named "Octavius" after the veterinarian caring for him. After regaining the ability to swim on his own, Octavius passed medical clearance.
Because of Octavius' young age, the LDWF and the Audubon are monitoring him closely to make sure he could survive on his own.
"It's been six weeks and he is doing everything a dolphin should be doing. Results from monitoring appear to show that he is thriving and has a strong chance to survive in the wild," says Gabriella Vazquez, Audubon's stranding and rescue coordinator.
She closes, "It's such an honor to watch him excel. We gave him a second chance in the wild."