Dolphin deaths surpass 300

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 20, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 6:01 PM

NORFOLK - Dolphins continue to wash ashore on the beaches of Hampton Roads.  

Just this week, 16 have been recovered by the Stranding Rescue Team at the Virginia Aquarium.  The team was out Friday morning in Ocean View to pick up one that was found Thursday night.

"I watching these people swim and this man swam into it and I watched him pull it up," said Preston Harrison.

People on the beach at First View Street covered the dolphin with a towel to keep scavengers away until the Stranding Team could get it.

The Virginia Aquarium says more than 300 carcasses, mostly adult dolphins, have been recovered this year, about five times the average.

On August 27, marine scientists announced the deaths were most likely due to a morbillivirus. Likened to measles in humans and distemper in canines, this virus was the same culprit which caused 750 dolphin deaths in 1987-88.

Initially, most of the dolphins were being around on beaches of the Chesapeake Bay, but Aquarium officials say they've recently seen the deaths move south as the dolphins migrates.

"We have had more strandings in the lower Chesapeake and along the Atlantic beaches, and now North Carolina is getting them as well,” said Aquarium Research Coordinator Susan Barco.

Stranding Response staff warn people not to touch a stranded animal and wash thoroughly if you come in contact with one. Call the Stranding Response 24-hour hotline at 757-385-7575 with the exact location of any stranded or dead dolphin and members will respond as soon as they can.

Click here for information on dolphin deaths along the East Coast

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