Saturday, January 27, 2007

And now it's 12th death for Long Island

The number of dolphins who have died since being trapped in shallow waters off eastern Long Island has risen to 12, a rescue leader said Sunday.Chuck Bowman, president of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, said two of the animals died overnight Saturday, which was not surprising given the severe weather conditions.

The two latest dolphin fatalities were discovered at dawn Sunday, Bowman said."We have boats in the water and are doing a search this afternoon of the whole creek," he added.About 20 of the "common dolphins" were first sighted about 11 days ago in the Northwest Harbor cove, which is north of East Hampton. Marine biologists feared for their safety.

The rescue effort has involved more than 80 people. Eight dolphins swam to safety earlier in the week after being coaxed out of the cove."Common dolphins" and another type, "white-sided" dolphins, are found throughout the year in waters off Long Island and into New England.

Typically, they stay 30 to 80 miles off shore.This group may have been chasing bait food, such as mackerel, that came closer to the coast. A preliminary study of two of the dead dolphins found their stomachs were empty.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"