(September 02, 2017) --

Melon headed whale found stranded on Fort Morgan Beach on Saturday, September 2. (Courtesy: Allen Family)

The Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab assisted in the transport of a stranded melon headed whale to IMMS in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The melon headed whale washed ashore in Fort Morgan on Saturday morning. A beach goer spotted the animal and called ALMMSN. 

ALMMSN team hands off melon headed whale to IMMS team.

Several firefighters from the Fort Morgan Fire Rescue and an employee with the Orange Beach Wildlife Center aided in stabilizing the animal and transporting it off the beach until ALMMSN arrived. 

ALMMSN met a team from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies to transport the animal for care at their Gulfport, Mississippi facility.  

"The animal handled the transport really well," Stranding Coordinator Noel Wingers said. 

The melon headed whale arrived at IMMS early this afternoon where it will be monitored and rehabbed.

IMMS Executive Director Dr. Moby Solangi said, "The animal is in the water, and breathing okay. 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."

A reminder that if you see a stranded animal on the beach, do not attempt to return the animal to the water, and call ALMMSN for assistance at 1-877-WHALE-HELP. 

Melon headed whale in rehabilitation at IMMS in Gulfport, Mississippi. (Courtesy: Dr. Moby Solangi, IMMS)

Here are other guidelines to follow:

--Never push the animal back into the water. Marine mammals typically strand due to sickness or injury.
--Pushing an animal back to sea increases stress levels, places the animal in additional danger from predators and could seriously injure the animal or yourself.
--Keep unnecessary people, pets and noise away from the animal.
--Do not leave the animal, it may not be able to keep itself upright.
--Try not to excessively touch the animal.
--Relieve pressure on fins and lungs by digging holes underneath them and filling with water.
--Provide shade or repel wind to keep animal warm/cool.
--Keep blowhole free of obstruction
--Be careful around the mouth and tail area
--Do NOT touch the melon (bulbous region just anterior to the blowhole). 
--Stay with the animal until expert help arrives.

For more information on the Alabama Marine Mammal Stranding Network visit almmsn.disl.org.