SeaWorld officials on Tuesday announced the arrival of a young pilot whale named Sully that was found stranded on a Caribbean beach and unable to be returned to the wild.
The nearly 1,000-pound whale was found beached and near death on the island of Curacao in July. It was suffering from dehydration, malnourishment and an infection, according to SeaWorld.
After nursing the whale back to health, rescuers made several attempts to reintroduce him to the open ocean, but each time he followed the boat back, according to SeaWorld. At that point, experts determined he should be cared for at SeaWorld.
“Because the animal is young — he is estimated to be between two (to) three years old — and showed no signs of reintegration, experts determined that the best place for Sully would be in a zoological facility with other pilot whales,’' a statement from SeaWorld read.
Rescuers named the pilot whale “Sully” after pilot Chesley
Sullenberger, the pilot who safely ditched a plane with 155 people onboard in the Hudson River in New York City.
The whale is begin cared for in a behind-the-scenes pool at SeaWorld and will be under quarantine for 30 days before being introduced to the park’s other pilot whales.
Whale rescue and care is nothing new to SeaWorld’s staff, who in 1991 rescued a week-old, 14 1/2 foot gray whale, later named J.J. in honor of one of the trainers. She was released back to the ocean when she was just over a year old.
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