Friday, April 22, 2011

Dolphin Death Toll Rises, Experts Look for Answers - 22nd Apr 2011

Some suspect domoic acid, a biotoxin found in algae blooms off the California coast that was detected in sardines found dead in neighboring Redondo Beach's King Harbor.

In the past three days, five more common dolphins have washed up on Southern California beaches, dead or dying, bringing the total death toll to 16 dolphins and one Dall's porpoise since April 1.

"The dolphins that are washing up on the beaches are a window to what’s going on in the ocean's environment," said Joe Cordaro, a National Marine Fisheries wildlife biologist. "Undoubtedly more animals are dying at sea. It's just impossible to say how many."

Most have washed ashore from Malibu to Newport Beach, including recent strandings at Rat Beach, Manhattan Beach and here in Hermosa Beach.

Peter Wallerstein from the Marine Animal Rescue Team found a sick dolphin washed ashore next door in Manhattan Beach last weekend.

"When I got there, there were at least 100 people that had surrounded the sick animal," he said. "Kids were screaming, people were pulling the dolphin's flippers and others were poking at it while it was having seizures."

The public should stay away from any of the sick creatures they encounter, Wallerstein said. "All that commotion can be the thing that ultimately ends the dolphin's life," he said.

That particular dolphin died a short time later Read More