Mississippi researchers nurse, study rare injured whale

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Veterinarians say a rare whale with shark bite wounds found stranded along the Mississippi coast is showing signs of improvement.

News outlets report fishermen spotted the melon-headed whale Thursday near Cat Island. Institute for Marine Mammal Studies researchers say the juvenile whale was in critical condition, with bite marks and lesions on his body.

But veterinarian Christa Barrett says he's making strides and she hopes to get him swimming and eating on his own before releasing him.

The Gulfport-based institute's director also has said researchers will test the whale to determine if his lesions are similar to those found on dolphin carcasses that washed ashore in record numbers this year. The wounds are thought to be caused by fresh water from Louisiana's Bonnet Carré Spillway.