Rare dolphin's condition improving

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 May, 2004, 12:00am

The condition of a rare dolphin rescued from a Lamma beach on Friday continued to improve at Ocean Park, with the animal swimming better after being force fed a nutritious soup of vitamins and minced fished.

But the 10-year-old rough-toothed dolphin is still refusing to eat unassisted.

It was found stranded in a serious condition on Lo Tik Wan beach on Friday.

'This morning he was again offered a variety of fish and squid by hand, following a previous attempt at hand feeding on Saturday afternoon,' said the amusement park's vet looking after it. 'But he did not attempt to eat voluntarily.'

'A decision was made to begin providing nourishment via stomach tube. This procedure was completed very efficiently, with little adverse reaction from the dolphin.'

They fed the dolphin with 1.3 litres of 'soup' made up of blended fish, electrolytes, vitamins and probiotics - beneficial bacteria - and the results were encouraging.

'This afternoon he appears brighter and more responsive to his environment. He is also swimming more often,' the vet said.

The park's chief vet, Derek Spielman, said on Saturday he was optimistic that the 2.1-metre dolphin would recover.

'If it starts eating, there is a great chance that it can survive,' he said.

Staff at Ocean Park have also been giving the mammal antibiotics to prevent infections and have been monitoring it around the clock.

The rough-toothed dolphin species has never been seen alive before in Hong Kong waters.