Beached dolphins increase in Southern California

Necropsies have been performed to determine the cause of the strandings

Wendy Leeds Animal Care coordinator, left, with volunteer Colby Hollabaugh, center, and Amanda Walters education instructor receive a dolphin at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Calif. (Pacific Marine Mammal Center via AP)

Experts were working Tuesday to determine the cause of an increase in dolphin strandings along the Southern California coast.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center said it has responded to six beached dolphins this month and received reports of two others.

READ MORE: Scientists identify pink salmon as another possible threat to orcas

Necropsies have been performed on all the dolphins to try to determine the cause of the strandings.

The centre’s veterinarian, Kristen Sakamaki, said in a statement there were a variety of potential reasons, including viral infections, bacterial infections and toxins.

“We may not always get a definitive answer, but we consider our research with these dolphins to be a very important piece to the puzzle in providing clues as to what is going on in our nearshore habitats,” Sakamaki said.

The centre said that, according to the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, there have recently been blooms of algae that can produce domoic acid, which is toxic for marine mammals, seabirds and humans when ingested.

Southern California has also had heavy winter rains that can cause or worsen strandings by flushing excess nutrients and harmful toxins from land into the oceans, the centre said.

The two stranding events in which the animals were not recovered involved a dolphin that was immediately washed back out to sea and another that washed up in an area where it was unsafe for a rescue team to respond.

The centre said people who see a stranded marine mammal should call in experts and should not touch it or try to help it back into the ocean.

The strandings began with three common dolphins beaching themselves on Feb. 4. One washed up dead at Huntington Beach and two more were rescued alive at Laguna Beach but had to be euthanized after examination.

A dead bottlenose dolphin washed ashore at Corona del Mar on Feb. 10, followed five days later by a common dolphin. Both were pregnant.

The most recent stranding was a common dolphin at Corona del Mar on Feb. 18.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

The story of Rotary Richard

People have until April 6 to make their guess

Local contribution to a global issue

Global Climate Strike for Future

Thompson Caribou Championship hockey tournament a show of dedication

The tournament included teams from Logan Lake, Merritt, Lillooet, Clearwater and two from Chase

Cross-country camaraderie

Learning techniques for skate skiing and other fun activities

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

‘Considerably large’ tractor tire fell and killed 3-year-old girl on B.C. farm

Delta’s deputy fire chief said crews tried to helicopter girl out after a tractor tire leaning against a barn fell onto her

Most Read