Stranded whale rescued from Fort Morgan beach

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A whale stranded on the beach at Fort Morgan, Ala., on Saturday [Sept. 2] is stable and fighting to recover at a Gulf Coast marine institute thanks to trained volunteers and beach-goers.

The adult male melon headed whale washed ashore Saturday morning [Sept. 2] and was spotted by people on the beach. One knew to call the Alabama Marine Stranding Network at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Firefighters from Fort Morgan Fire and Rescue and an employee with the Orange Beach Wildlife Center helped stabilize the whale and get it off the beach, according to Angela Levins, public relations director for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Rescuers alerted the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) at Gulfport, Miss., which sent a vehicle toward Alabama. The stranding network met that vehicle and transferred the whale for the trip back to Gulfport.

“The animal is in the water, and breathing okay,” IMMS Executive Director Dr. Moby Solangi said in a statement later Saturday. “He's stabilized very well and looking better, but he's not out of the woods. We sent bloodwork to the hospital and by this evening we should have a general idea of the road ahead.”

Here are some tips from the experts if you see a stranded animal on the beach:

* Do not try to return it to the water. Marine animals typically strand because they are injured or ill. Pushing them back into the sea increases stress, puts the animal in predator danger and could injure the animal or the would-be rescuer.

* Call 1-877-WHALE-HELP to reach the stranded network.

For a complete list of tips, visit to

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