PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A newborn dolphin was given a second chance at life thanks to the quick thinking of an off-duty deputy in Florida.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office’s said the mission of its Maritime Operations Unit “is to make sure all are safe on the water. On May 10, MarOps corporals were called to assist a different resident: A dolphin calf.”
Officials said an off-duty deputy was fishing off the coast of Hudson, Florida, when he discovered the hours-old dolphin alone and in distress. The deputy called PSO’s MarOps unit, which rushed the dolphin 30 minutes south to meet with members of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
The young dolphin was ultimately transferred to SeaWorld Rescue, which said the male dolphin was in critical condition. Since its rescue, the dolphin has been showing signs of improvement and swimming on his own.
“We’re proud of the swift actions of our deputies, both on and off duty,” the sheriff’s office said. “If you come across an animal in distress, notify the proper authority immediately and keep an eye on the animal from a distance to help responders locate it.”
Dolphin pregnancies last about 12 months, according to uswhales.org, and mothers’ average time between births is 2-3 years.
The birthing season for dolphins varies by location around the world, with peaks usually happening in spring, early summer and fall, according to SeaWorld. After birth, a calf can nurse from its mother for 18-24 months, SeaWorld says, and captive baby dolphins have been observed starting to nurse as soon as six hours after birth.