Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network

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



Species: Bottlenose Dolphin, Tursiops truncatus
Age Class: Adult
Gender: Male
Date of Stranding: September 13, 2008
Location of Stranding: Cameron Parish, LA
Duration of care at TMMSN:
Final Disposition: Released September 21, 2008

Hurricane Ike challenged the TMMSN with multiple out-of-habitat dolphin rescues and recoveries. One such animal was a male bottlenose dolphin, found in a private hunting lease marsh several weeks after Hurricane Ike pushed a 15' storm surge over most of the north eastern coast of Texas and the western coast of Louisiana.

Initially, Dom (named for the Domaingue brothers who found and reported him) was reported to be in a shallow, narrow roadside ditch with easy road access. Upon arrival, TMMSN found that the dolphin was instead wallowing in 1-2 feet of water in a large marsh about 1 mile from the nearest road. In danger of sunburn or being completely stranded by the tidal flow, Dom was in need of immediate assistance. Rather than drive 3 hours back to retrieve the TMMSN airboat, the Domaingue brothers graciously offered the use of their mudboat.

Using scraps of lumber and debris washed in by the Hurricane, our resourceful team constructed a makeshift wooden frame to support the closed-cell foam pad where the dolphin would sit during transport. After testing the frame for weight, capacity, and stability, our team went into the marsh to retrieve Dom.

Dom was quickly round-up in a cover by trained TMMSN CCT (Critical Care Team) volunteers, Dom was safely loaded onto the padded mudboat platform, and taken back to the nearest road.

Because Dom was considered to be an "out-of-habit" animal resulting from the hurricane, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) gives the TMMSN the option of releasing the animal if it is physically strong enough to survive in the wild. After an examination, health assessment, and consultation with the SE NOAA Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator, the TMMSN was given authorization to release Dom immediately.

After loading Dom into the truck and driving him 1/4 mile to the beach on the other side of the road from where he was rescued, he was released in chest-deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, where he quickly swam away.








Dom  Dom  Dom  Dom 
Dom  Dom  Dom  Dom 
Dom  Dom  Dom  Dom 
Dom  Dom  Dom   

Click here for a slideshow of more pictures of Dom's rescue and release by the TMMSN. 

Months later, another dolphin, nicknamed Lucky, was reported to be stranded out-of-habitat and was rescued by TMMSN very near to where we rescued Dom. See Lucky's page for more information on his rescue.

Dom & Lucky's Rescue & Release Locations