The 7-foot dolphin found stranded on South Padre Island last week remains in guarded condition at Texas State Aquarium Sea Lab in Corpus Christi.
Officials say it is a “wait-and-see situation” with the juvenile dolphin that goes by the name Bo Jingles.
“We are still hopeful, but he is extremely critical,” said Lea Walker, regional coordinator for the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Corpus Christi.
The dolphin is expected to be taken today to the Galveston facility of the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network for further treatment and care.
Bo Jingles was transported to Corpus Christi late last week after being cared for at the University of Texas-Pan American Coastal Studies Lab in Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island, officials said.
Fishermen found the young dolphin in weak condition near Beach Access No. 6 on Dec. 21.
It was first thought that Bo Jingles suffered superficial wounds from a shark bite, but the wounds turned out to be more severe, officials said.
“They are definitely more invasive than originally determined. We’ve got him on every possible treatment he can be on for them,” Walker said.
Bo Jingles is being tube-fed and “nursed” and at times is able to eat small fish. The “nursing” consists of a volunteer donning gloves with a hole in one of the fingers and letting the dolphin suck the finger and gain nutrient through the hole.
Bo Jingles does better at the nursing because the suckling reduces his stress level, Williams said.
The dolphin is believed to be between 1 and 2 years old.
Although Bo Jingles is eating, it is still painful for him to swim on his own because of bites he sustained on his tail. Volunteers are walking Bo Jingles inside the tank. He is receiving around-the-clock care.
“It is so painful for him to move parts of his body that he needs for swimming, that he really just can’t. ... It’s not that he is not strong enough, it’s just that he is in too much pain,” Walker said.
Only a limited amount of medication can be administered to Bo Jingles because of the way dolphins breathe.
“You can’t depress them because they are voluntary breathers and if you give them traditional type pain medication, you will depress their breathing and they won’t remember to breathe,” Walker said.
Bo Jingles is getting physical therapy on his tail.
“It is always a wait-and-see situation. ... You just have to wait for him to respond to the treatment,” Walker said. “These people are giving everything they’ve got to help this animal.”