Rescued whale recovers in Florida hot tub
Ledger-Enquirer 25th January 2003
ISLAMORADA, Fla. - A rescued pygmy sperm whale was recovering Friday in a resort hotel's heated saltwater pool, being treated for dehydration and wounds possibly inflicted by a harpoon.
The 11-foot, 1,200-pound pygmy sperm whale, nicknamed Kokomo, was found stranded on a Florida Keys sandbar earlier in the week and taken to protected waters behind the U.S. Coast Guard station on Islamorada, near Key Largo.
Concerned about the cold, caretakers from the Marine Mammal Conservancy later moved him to The Islander Resort, which turned its heated saltwater swimming pool over to the whale's care.
Medical examinations showed Kokomo was suffering from anemia, severe dehydration and a suspicious wound just behind its blowhole, said Rick Trout, director of the Conservancy, a Key Largo-based organization which coordinates marine mammal rescues in the Florida Keys.
"We're not sure if it's a harpoon or a gaff, but for sure someone tried to spear it," he said. "This could have happened (anywhere) in the Caribbean."
While Kokomo is checked in, the saltwater pool is closed to guests, but a freshwater pool is still available.
"The guests are happy we are trying to help the whale," said Robin Schlaudecker, the resort's general manager. "Some have even volunteered to assist the conservancy staff with his treatment."
The whale, monitored constantly, was being given supplemental drinks and distilled water to combat its dehydration, Maalox to settle its stomach and antibiotics to fight pneumonia and infection.
Trout predicted the whale would need at least three weeks of treatment before consideration could be given for its release, assuming it recovers.