Dolphin nursed back to health after shark bite

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After 89 days of care, scientists and staff with Mote Marine Laboratory joined together to send a dolphin named Salem back to sea.

“This is what we work for. These are the moment we live for,” Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program Manager Gretchen Lovewell said.

Salem, an adult female bottlenose dolphin was found stranded on Halloween near the Skyway fishing pier in St. Petersburg, Florida.

She was rushed to Mote Marine in Sarasota where 24-hour care began.

“When they hit the beach, their organs start shutting down and things so it’s really a race against the clock,” Lovewell explained.

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“These animals are very stoic so figuring out exactly what is wrong with them can be very challenging,” Mote Marine Laboratory Veterinarian Whitney Greene explained.

Salem was fighting a sever bacterial infection which turned septic. She had a deep shark bite wound and was underweight.

“Some of her blood values were showing she had issues from bleeding out and bacterial infections and that type of thing. We had to fight that bacteria,” Lovewell said.

After treatments and gaining 80 pounds, Salem was given the green light to return home.

“With some of the issues that we’ve had out there we wanted to send her out there with the best shot she had,” Lovewell said. to be able to see this go full circle is just incredible.”