Audubon vets hope to release young dolphin back into wild soon

Audubon vets hope to release young dolphin back into wild soon

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A young dolphin rescued from Grand Isle may soon be released back into the wild.

We first introduced you to "Octavius" in October. Vets with the Audubon Nature Institute helped rescue him after he was found stranded. He's only 2 and was likely separated from his family. But, we have good news to report.

"He's doing great, he's doing very well, he's got his energy up, he's swimming great," said Audubon Nature Institute Veterinarian Tres Clarke.

Octavius also passed a hearing test, something that has to happen before he can be released back into the wild.

"We are finding a lot of animals that strand, especially within the Gulf, are actually deaf," Clarke said. "So dolphins use what's called echo location, and it's part of their process for finding things, and navigating throughout the waters, and finding food and things like that, so if they're deaf, they are unable to echo locate, so, you know, without that skill these animals are just dead in the water. They won't be able to survive."

Since his rescue, Octavius has been recovering and receiving medical care at Audubon's Aquatic Center in New Orleans. He's got a personality of his own and enjoys playing with his new toys.

"He's a feisty little boy, right now. I guess you can say he's going through his dolphin puberty," said Clarke.

We're told he's defiant at times, and not that crazy about humans - but that's exactly what vets want to see.

"We don't want him to get used to us or associate us with food or pretty much like us. The fact that he still fights us is a good thing. We want him to still have that wild instinct in him," said Audubon Nature Institute Stranding and Rescue Coordinator Gabriella Vazquez.

Vets would like to see Octavius released back into the wild within the next few months. He has a few more medical tests to pass first, and they would like to see him put on some weight. If all goes well, he will be released back into the dolphin population in Barataria Bay.

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