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

Haida Gwaii and Bella Bella organizations receive funding for arts and culture

The Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture funded 83 organizations across B.C. this year

Haida UBC grad awarded prestigious academic honour

Law school next on Chelsea Gladstone’s ‘to do’ list

Fire ban back in effect for Northwest Fire Centre region

Starting May 24, both Category 2 and Category 3 prohibitions will be in place

This summer Masset RCMP will give positive tickets to youths

More than a dozen community partners are involved in encouraging good behaviour once school is out

New Seven Sisters replacement confirmed

Mental health facility will have 25 beds, up from 20 in current facility

VIDEO: Canadian breaks women’s world record for longest plank

Dana Glowacka, of Montreal, held a plank for four hours and 20 minutes

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read