SeaWorld is treating a critically ill, rarely seen Risso's dolphin that was rescued in Long Beach over the weekend.
The 1-year-old male dolphin was found stranded on the beach and taken to the Marine Mammal Care Center at Fort MacArthur. After he was stabilized, he was transferred to SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Center where he's now receiving round-the-clock treatment for a possible infection, dehydration and malnourishment.
SeaWorld said without intervention, he would not have made it.
Center keepers are nursing the dolphin back to health with a nutrient-rich dolphin milk formula and steady squid diet.
According to the center, the 7-foot, 224 pound mammal sustained muscle damage from being stranded and cannot swim on his own. Right now he's wearing a flotation jacket and keepers are helping him to swim.
Although "guardedly optimistic" about the dolphin's prognosis, SeaWorld vets are hoping he gains the strength to swim on his own again. He is receiving muscle therapy and taking antibiotics.
Risso's dolphins are one of the more common members of the dolphin family and are often found offshore in the warm and tropical waters in both hemispheres. Although they do swim off San Diego's coastlines, their solitary tendencies keeps them mostly unseen here.
SeaWorld said adult Risso's are usually gray in color with some white splotches, scratches or circular marks, often caused by bites or "rakes" from other Risso's, squid bites or parasites.
The dolphin SeaWorld is caring for is being given a zinc-oxide-based sunscreen for this white coloration on his dorsal fin and back to avoid sun- and windburn.
There is no information as to how long the dolphin's recovery is expected to take, but the vets caring for him are hopeful.