The one-year-old bottlenose dolphin was stranded on an Okaloosa Island beach following Hurricane Nate.
PANAMA CITY BEACH — The one-year-old bottlenose dolphin stranded in Okaloosa County following Hurricane Nate continues to improve, and Gulf World Marine Institute is looking to “adopt” her out.
Samira was stranded Oct. 8 on the beach at Okaloosa Island and rescued by good Samaritan beachgoers and Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge technicians. Staff at Gulf World said she is eating well and gaining weight, and her blood work and behavior both have been looking good.
“Samira’s playful and curious personality show more everyday as she interacts with enrichment that has been introduced to her,” Gulf World marketing manager Sam Tuno said in a news release.
Shelby Proie, Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator at Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, said she got a call just before 4 p.m. Oct. 8 from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about a beached dolphin. The FWC said beachgoers searching for shells on Princess Beach after the storm had stumbled upon the stranded bottlenose dolphin and called them.
“She was almost at the dune level, so that tells you how high the storm surge must have been,” Proie said.
Proie said it appeared the dolphin had simply become too exhausted fighting the rip currents and storm surge brought by Hurricane Nate and had washed up on the shoreline.
“The surf was so high we couldn’t even see if there was a pod or a mother out there because the waves were so huge,” she said.
The medical expenses for Samira’s rehabilitation are high — about $10,000 for the first week alone — so Gulf World is seeking donations toward her care. To help with Samira’s rehabilitation through a symbolic adoption, go to GWMI.info.
Other animals also are available for adoption. For a minimum donation of $35, donors will receive a printed photo of their animal, a certificate, a description of the animal and a GWMI sticker. To donate, visit www.gwmi.info/adopt-samira/.