The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 14, 2013

More dead baby dolphins in South Mississippi waters



GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — Officials with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies say in the past month 13 dead dolphins have been found.

Eleven of the dolphins were babies, IMMS director Moby Solangi tells The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/VhJUAv ).

"In 2011, we had seen a spike in baby dolphins that died," he said. "Last year, things had stabilized and the numbers went down. Now we have another spike, and they're all occurring at the same time.

"This is a spike that we don't really understand. The ratio is unusual. We usually see a mix of males and females and different ages. These either were aborted or they died shortly after they were born."

He said dolphins don't normally begin giving birth until the end of February. The mothers swim closer to shore to give birth because the babies have to come up to the surface to take their first breath, Solangi said. Also, the shallow water is murky so sharks can't see them.

Birthing season runs from late February until April or May. Solangi said if the deaths had occurred after the normal birthing season began, he wouldn't be so concerned.

"Whether it's a human reason or a biological reason, we need to know," he said.

There are more dolphins off the coast of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama than any other place in the U.S. and that's why people here see them so often, Solangi said.

Solangi said he got a report last week that three dolphins were found dead near Horn Island, but when IMMS crews got there, they found only two. He received photos of all three and the one not found had its head removed.

"A dolphin with no head is unusual," he said. "Last year, we had people mutilating dolphins. We want people to know, because this is the birthing season, so they will see more animals closer to the shore."

IMMS workers performed necropsies, or autopsies, on the dolphins and sent tissue and culture samples to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to be analyzed.

1
Text Only
State and Nation
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee