Featured Image Credit: The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies Facebook
A story that started in September recently got a happy ending. A rare melon headed whale was just re-released into the wild after spending months being rehabilitated at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS). This was the first successful rehabilitation of a melon headed whale in the US.
The young male melon headed whale was found stranded on the beach in Fort Morgan, Alabama. The whale was rescued and transferred to the IMMS for rehabilitation and treatment. The IMMS had a hard task ahead of them as the whale was struggling to survive. Not only did he sustain injuries while being stranded, he was also ill, which may have contributed to the stranding.
Over four months, staff at IMMS worked to rehabilitate the whale and get him ready for release into the wild. When he was deemed fit to return to the ocean, the team transported him about 90 miles off the coast to release him in deep water, where his natural habitat is. The young whale was fitted with a satellite tag so that scientists at IMMS can monitor his progress for the next few weeks. His time at IMMS proved invaluable for scientists as these whales are rare and not routinely studied.