Dolphin strandings, deaths seen off East Coast waters

Photo from Marine Mammal Stranding Center

USA TODAY- Bottlenose dolphins are dying from Virginia to New York, with at least 124 strandings reported since July, federal wildlife officials reported Thursday. That's a death rate seven times higher than normal for the East Coast in July.

The National Marine Fisheries Service declared a federal "unusual mortality event," and said it is increasing federal investigation and funding for analyses of the dolphin deaths. National Marine Fisheries scientist Teri Rowles said at least one of the stranded dolphins appeared to have suffered from a measles-like "morbillivirus."

Rob Young, who investigates dolphin strandings in our area as part of Coastal Carolina University's Marine Science Department, says the unusual dolphin deaths are not happening here. A stranding in Pawleys Island two weeks ago was just normal mortality event, he says.

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