Skip to main content

Tuffy, We’re Not in Carolina Anymore

Howdy! (Disclaimer: Not something Mississippians actually say) And welcome to my first blog post!

After spending 12 grueling hours driving from North Carolina in my 1992 cherry red Jeep, I finally arrived in Gulfport, Mississippi with my parents, Nick and Mary, on a hot, humid Saturday afternoon. Actually we drove straight through Gulfport to New Orleans (about 45 mins away), because why not! It is an interesting city to say the least.

Surprisingly empty street corner in NOLA.
Surprisingly empty street corner in NOLA.

Once we were done exploring NOLA, we headed back over to Gulfport and I moved into my new place. It is a pretty sweet setup, only 20 minutes from my internship and my two roommates, Rachel and Katherine, are great. They also have two cats, Tonks (pictured below) and Lupin, who is rarely seen but looks like a large squirrel.

Tonks the model.
Tonks the model.

That Monday I started my first day at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in the Stranding/Veterinary department. This past semester I worked with North Carolina’s Stranding Network and the fabulous Dr. Vicky Thayer, so that is why I applied with¬†IMMS’ stranding program. IMMS first opened its doors in 1984 to educate the public and conduct research and conservation on marine mammals in the wild and under human care. They are a non-profit organization that has four different departments; Veterinary/Stranding, Research, Animal Care, and Education, all of which I will get to work in throughout the next three months. In the stranding department, we respond to live and dead marine animals. This time of year is their live turtle season and recreational fishermen will usually call in about a turtle they have hooked while fishing. IMMS has a few resident animals that have either stranded and are in rehab waiting for release or are retired by the navy, such as Bo and Buster, and are living out their days at the facility. Currently they have six sea lions, three dolphins, and two pygmy killer whales that stranded last summer and are set for release in the coming months. IMMS also has several species of fish and birds on site.

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

That’s all for now folks! In my next post I will talk about the sea lion eye surgeries that took place that same week.

Tune in next time.

-Mo

Read more about Maureen’s experience:

Forever Homes and Happy Endings

Month in Review