Flipper may be the only dolphin on the Hollywood A-list, but can he claim a namesake inspired by a Super Bowl MVP? No, that honor belongs to a dolphin named Roux Brees.
According to WWL-TV in New Orleans, the dolphin washed up on the shores of Grand Isle in January. Nearly 350 stranded marine mammals have died in the Gulf of Mexico this year -- a phenomenon the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is calling an "unusual mortality event." (Researchers have found an unusual bacteria in many of the deceased animals, but they haven't determined whether it's connected to the BP oil spill.) But this dolphin lived.
Caretakers at the Audubon Institute in New Orleans watched as the dolphin showed strength in the face of adversity, like a certain quarterback who took a formerly ridiculed NFL team to the Super Bowl, and decided to name him Roux Brees. He is one of only two beached dolphins to have survived the strange "mortality event," says Dr. Robert MacLean, senior veterinarian at the Audubon Institute.
For five months, Roux received rehab worthy of a celebrity athlete. Veterinarians and technicians worked around the clock to teach him how to swim again. With a resilience and spirit known to New Orleanians, he became healthy enough to be moved to a permanent home at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City Beach, Fla. The park serves as a rescue and educational facility.
"He seems to have made a full recovery and we anticipate a normal lifespan into his 30s or 40s," says Dr. MacLean. "He will remain in captivity."
Drew Brees, a supporter of the Audubon Institute, told WWL he thinks it's "pretty cool" to have this special dolphin named after him. We're pretty sure Roux is happy too. If Brees had become a Miami Dolphin in 2006, Roux might not have such a cool name.
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