MARATHON, Fla. - An orphaned dolphin that was rescued from the waters off Texas’ coast last year now has a new home.
Ranger was found stranded near Goose Island State Park in Texas last June and suffered from respiratory infection and dehydration.
He was taken to the Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Research Center for care, and it was determined at his young age he wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild.
After that, the National Marine Fisheries Service chose the Dolphin Research Center as Ranger’s new home, according to a news release from the Florida Keys News Bureau.
He was flown from Texas to the facility on Friday, where he will continue his rehabilitation.
"I’ve been with Ranger since his rescue, so I’ve been with him that entire time working on him, acclimating him to his new home working with humans," Texas State Aquarium operations coordinator Sarah Zigmond said. "So to see the culmination of his entire rescue and rehabilitation come to fruition in his new forever home made me quite emotional."
Dolphin Research Center vice president of animal care and training Linda Erb said Ranger would become a permanent member of the facility’s family because of his young age.
"Ranger is not eligible to be released, and that’s something the government determines," she said. "He did not have the ability to survive in the wild. They determined that if they put him back in the wild without a family or friends to help him learn that skill, he wouldn’t survive."
After an initial monitoring period in a medical quarantine pool to build up his immune system, Ranger will slowly be introduced to other dolphins and acclimate to the facility’s dolphin lagoons in Florida Bay.