NEW ORLEANS -- Remnants of Hurricane Patricia apparently battered and exhausted a young dolphin that stranded at Grand Isle beach and is being treated in New Orleans, a veterinarian said Wednesday.
Audubon Aquatic Center veterinarian Tres Clarke said a fisherman found the stranded dolphin Monday and his group was asked to help rescue it. The dolphin was taken from Grand Isle as the storm was raging, half of the island was flooded, nearby Port Fourchon was being evacuated and roads were being closed, Clarke said.
The dolphin is a 6½-foot male and probably a bit less than 2 years old.
"The waves were really high, really rough. He's a young guy and probably was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and got beat up really bad" by the surf, Clarke said.
Audubon's stranding and rescue coordinator, Gabriella Vazquez, said state biologists had the dolphin on a stretcher on the beach, with waves washing over him when she and Clarke arrived.
She said the animal was lethargic and not breathing well. The biologists carried the stretcher into thigh-deep surf, but the dolphin did not show any inclination to swim into the Gulf of Mexico, she said.
Once in a tank at the aquatic center, the dolphin swam on his own, Clarke said. Time on the road may have given the dolphin a chance to recover and being in a new, place with quiet water may have also helped, he said.
"He's still a little slow, but he's improving day by day," Clarke said.