What’s killing the baby dolphins?

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The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies has confirmed that a fourth baby dolphin has washed ashore on Horn Island, The island, one of the longest in the chain that comprises the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park, is about 12 miles south of Ocean Springs. Three baby dolphins were pinpointed Monday and a fourth was reported today by National Resource Advisory employees who are working with BP cleanup crews on the island.

Researchers with the IMMS are headed to the island now to take tissue samples and possibly remove the bodies back for studies.

These infant dolphins are among the 18 reported since January.

The four are also among the 28 total adult and infant dolphins reported since the beginning of the year. None of the dead adults were pregnant females.

The industry’s leading scientist on marine mammal strandings is concerned about these deaths.

Blair Mase, NOAA’s marine mammal stranding coordinator for the Southeast region, confirmed that the number of baby dolphin deaths is high.

She said the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies reports all its findings to her.

So far this calving season, 18 infant dolphins have either been stillborn or died shortly after birth.

“We’re definitely keeping a close eye on this situation,” Mase said. “We’re comparing this to previous years, trying to find out what’s going on here.”

She said this is the time of the year that she sees death in young dolphins, because it is the beginning of the birthing season. But really, the normal birthing season is a little later in the year, she said.

“We’re trying to determine if we do in fact have still births,” she said. There are more in Mississippi than in Alabama and Louisiana.

“With the oil spill, it is difficult,” she said. “We’re trying to determine what’s causing this. It could be infectious related. Or it could be non-infection.

“We run the gamut of causes,” she said, including human impact, which would include the oil spill; infectious disease and bio-toxins,

IMMS has been conducting necropsies on the baby dolphins and sharing the findings with Mase.

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About Post Author

Michael John Scott

Mr. Scott is a political junkie, and animal lover. He is also a U.S. Army veteran, career law enforcement executive, and university professor. Did I mention he loves dogs? A lot?
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3 years ago

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Jess
11 years ago

We keep messing with mother nature and soon she is going to be pissed off and she’ll take all the nice things away from us.

dp1053
11 years ago

Gee, couldn’t have anything to do with all the shit BP dumped into the gulf now could it? Despite the claims that things are cleaned up and returning to normal, the gulf is going to be a cesspool for years yet to come.

Michael John Scott
Reply to  dp1053
11 years ago

I have to agree with you dp. Like smoking for years, there is a price to pay, even if you quit. I will never believe that the amount of oil that was released into the Gulf could simply evaporate without leaving behind something very, very bad that we will be paying for in the years to come.

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