Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two more dolphins deaths!

A dead dolphin was spotted floating near the Route 36 Highlands bridge early Friday morning and another was seen stranded during the weekend, but officials said the pair were not part of the original pod of bottlenose dolphins visiting the waterways.The bodies were preliminarily identified as short-nose common dolphins, which prefer warm to cool water — 52 to 88 degrees — in the ocean or offshore, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Web site.

Further, short-nose common dolphins tend to travel in large social group of hundreds of individual mammals called “mega-pods,” the Web site said.Workers on the Route 36 bridge, which is currently being replaced by the state Department of Transportation, spotted the first dolphin before 8 Friday morning, NOAA spokeswoman Teri Frady said.The workers immediately reported the incident to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, in Brigantine, which then recovered the body, Frady said.

The second dolphin stranded near the Monmouth Beach section of the Shrewsbury River, MMSC Executive Director Robert Schoelkopf said. “It was in pretty bad shape. It was shivering and malnourished,” Schoelkopf explained, adding that it was euthanized at the scene. No other common dolphins were spotted in the area, according to Schoelkopf.

He noted that animals usually separate from the group because they cannot keep up due to weakness or illness.NOAA was awaiting species confirmation and a necropsy of both mammals as of press time.A change in the condition of the remaining 12 dolphins in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers has not been reported, according to Frady.

Two dolphins of the original pod were found dead during the past few months, and two have gone missing.NOAA is currently monitoring the pod, but has not moved forward with intervention as it awaits specific “triggers” before interfering.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"