Dead dolphin washes ashore in Pascagoula

By Jeff Lawson
11 March 2010; WLOX

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) – A dead dolphin was found by a walker on the Pascagoula beach Monday. Within hours, the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport was there and had biologists beginning the process of analyzing what may have killed the animal.

Right now, the only thing we know for sure is the dolphin was about three years old, and is the 11th dolphin to wash ashore in either Mississippi or Alabama this year.

"They want to give birth in shallow waters, so the babies don’t drown," Dr. Moby Solangi said.

Solangi is the director of the Institute, and pointed out that finding a dead dolphin on the beach at this time of year is not so unusual. That’s because in the spring, dolphins have their babies.

"The stranding season begins in March and kind of slows down in summer," Solangi said.

Tissue samples will be taken from the dolphin, and pathology and toxicology reports will be compiled to analyze why the dolphin died. Dr. Solangi pointed out that what they learn is important, not just to the dolphin population, but to everyone who lives on this earth.

"There are 32 states in the United States that pour their agricultural waste through the system," Solangi said, "And when it comes through the mouth and enters the Gulf, it creates what we call a dead zone. It is about 10,000 square miles where nothing can grow. That will affect our way of life, the recreational fisheries, the commercial fisheries."

Dr. Solangi said that in the next few weeks, they should know what killed the dolphin.

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