Edna the dolphin is headed home.
scientists loaded up Edna the bottle nose dolphin early Tuesday morning to return to the Gulf of Mexico after she spent more than two months at Mote's Dolphin and Whale Hospital recovering from pneumonia.
Bradenton residents Sara Heuer and Mike and Melissa Herron, found while on a sea turtle patrol.
At 7:30 Tuesday morning, Edna returned to freedom thanks to volunteers and staff at Mote.
It seems to be Edna is well aware how lucky she is. As Edna took her first dive into the Gulf of Mexico, she resurfaced and tapped the water with her tail, as if she was waving goodbye to the volunteers, prompting cheers and applause.
Prognosis wasn't good for Edna at first as she received around the clock care for weeks as she had multiple organ issues, said Hayley Rutger, spokeswoman for Mote.
"People were supporting her in the water around the clock," Rutger said "When she began to improve we had people coming out of the pool and instead being up on top to lessen her exposure to humans because she is a wild animal."
Staff and volunteers kept Edna calm, soaked with sponges and tracked her breathing while she was carried out to sea, volunteer Cathy Marine said.
Now that Edna's in the water, Mote staff will keep track of her whereabouts using a special satellite tag. Mote staff says they've studied Edna's nicks and notches in her fins and knows that she's not a local dolphin, so they'll be fascinated to find out where Edna calls home.
"We won't be able to find out too much about her social patterns b/c her tag only tells us what she's doing," said Randall Wells, director of the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program. "We expect she will meet up with other dolphins and hopefully interact with them."
And all that could not be possible without the donations that Mote receives. The nonprofit's care for Edna was supported by donations, and continued donations can be made online at Mote.org/HospitalHelp.
Good luck, Edna.
You can keep track of Edna's travels at mote.org.