Heidi helps save Zip the dolphin

EPI’s Environmental Coordinator, Heidi Etter, volunteers with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) during her free time. They recently received a new stranded dolphin into the center, only two weeks after having another bottlenose dolphin, Birdie, for eight months. Birdie now lives in the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, Illinois.


Photo courtesy of TMMSN


Meet Zip! A young male bottlenose dolphin, estimated to be less than 1 year of age stranded near South Padre Island in Texas on Sept. 22, 2015. The dolphin was pushed back into the water several times by beachgoers and a response team as there were other dolphins in the immediate area but he continued to return to the beach. At the time, there was a strong red tide presence but it is unknown if this led to his stranding at this time.

Zip is beginning to erupt teeth but whole fish is not yet on the menu. We are currently feeding him a special fish-based milk formula on the demanding schedule of every four hours. With Zip needing feeding at least every four hours around the clock you can do the math as to how many volunteers we have helping each day, 24/7.This boy has been given the name “Zip” because he is extremely quick and it is taking at least 5 volunteers to help complete each feeding. While our volunteer crew is still recovering from Birdie’s rehabilitation routine, they will give Zip their undivided attention and begin the process of introducing Zip to whole fish when the time is right.

Dolphin rehabilitation is labor intensive, very costly and we can use the support.

Please find a Gofundme campaign that will benefit Zip at this link below and be assured that all funds donated will be used towards Zip!


The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network (TMMSN) is a non-profit organization created in 1980 to further the understanding and conservation of marine mammals through rescue and rehabilitation, research and education. The TMMSN consists of six regions along the Texas coast, which provide a coordinated response to all marine mammal strandings along the Texas coastline.

You can learn more about the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network on their website.


Heidi with Zip

Photo courtesy of TMMSN. In the water are Heidi Whitehead, Chris Whitehead, Heidi Etter and Donna Adams.




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