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

Northwest mobile unit to help those at heart of mental health, addiction crisis

Province, Northern Health unveils new unit in Terrace to bridge gaps in services

Sk’aadgaa Naay slips in Fraser Institute elementary school rankings

The school stayed at a rating of 5, but slipped to 694th rank in 2017/18

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients to drop by 31 per cent: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

B.C. minister says rural internet is ‘railroad of the 21st century’

Jinny Sims talks details about the $50-million provincial and possible $750-million federal funds

Arts funding for Haida Gwaii and Rupert societies

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice announced $320,643 in funding from the BC Arts Council Grant

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read