Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network



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Dedicated to the conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education.

GA1444 - Moby

 

Species: Dwarf Sperm Whale, Kogia sima
Age Class: Calf
Gender: Male
Date of Stranding: August 16, 2007
Location of Stranding: Jamaica Beach, Galveston, TX
Duration of care at TMMSN: 6 Days
Final Disposition: Deceased August 22, 2007

GA1444 - Moby 

GA1443, an adult female dwarf sperm whale (Kogia sima), stranded August 16, 2007 close to Jamaica Beach on Galveston Island, Texas. Braving the strong wind and rain of Tropical Storm Erin, the TMMSN Critical Care Team (CCT) arrived on the beach where the stranding was reported and found not one but two- a mother and calf! Using the professional rescue techniques learned through 27 years of marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, TMMSN volunteers transported both mother and calf to our Aqua Cell rehabilitation facility where both mother and calf began receiving care and attention from the TMMSN CCT.
Unfortunately, the mother whale passed away August 18, 2007. Though the entire team was saddened by the turn of events, they all continued to press on for the sake of the calf. Read more about GA1444's mother, GA1443.
Soon after his mother's passing, the calf (which was affectionately named "Moby") began allowing TMMSN staff and volunteers to nurse him through a tube and eagerly awaited each feeding! Moby was tube fed a milk formula derived from the analysis of previously stranded dwarf and pygmy sperm whale mothers. Though his acceptance of feedings was wonderful progress, "Baby Mo" was still considered to be in critical condition and began experiencing some gastric issues, which is not uncommon for calves of his species to experience in rehab since their previous diet cannot be completely matched.
Although Moby continued to make progress in both swimming and feeding, this critical patient succumbed to the trauma of stranding and the loss of his mother on August 22, 2007 around 10:30 am. Around 9 am, Moby was no longer able to support himself in the water and began receiving in-water support from TMMSN State Coordinator, Heidi Whitehead. After approximately an hour and a half of support, Baby Mo passed away quietly in her arms.
TMMSN approached this rehab knowing that Kogia calves are are a pelagic and unusual species and have never survived in rehab or captive situations. However, TMMSN staff, volunteers, and the caring public tried everything possible to give him a chance for survival. The response from the volunteers and the public wanting to help with Moby's rehab was amazing and it is heartwarming to know that there are so many people out there that truly care for these animals and are willing to go the extra mile to give them a second chance.
Although we were not successful with this rehabilitation, we feel we have learned so much about the species and perhaps this knowledge will help kogia species in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GA1444 - MOBY SUPPORT:
Moby was supported on a foam mat and in water by volunteers until he was strong enough to swim on his own.

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GA1443 & GA1444:
Moby and his mother were soon able to swim on their own together.

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GA1444 - MOBY'S FEEDINGS:
Moby accepted and eagerly anticipated his tube feedings.

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MORE PHOTOS OF GA1444 - MOBY:
More photos of Moby can be viewed here.

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