OCEAN SPRINGS -- Employees of three marine agencies on Tuesday herded a dolphin trapped for three weeks in Simmons Bayou back into the Mississippi Sound.
Moby Solangi of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport said officials decided Monday evening the dolphin was deteriorating and needed to leave the bayou.
After the dolphin entered the bayou, it was unable to navigate back to open water through a winding canal.
Solangi said the bayou's fresh water had injured the dolphin's skin, putting the mammal at risk of a serious infection.
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He said about 20 people from IMMS, the state Department of Marine Resources and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration cast a net in the bayou, forcing the dolphin into the canal. He said IMMS workers then herded the dolphin through the mile-long canal and traveled another mile through Davis Bayou into the Sound.
There, the dolphin united with at least two other dolphins, Eric Pulis of IMMS said.
Solangi said the team did not pull the dolphin out of the water to examine it for fear of worsening its injuries.
He said, "We gave him the best shot in nature."