Saturday, January 09, 2010

Dolphins, pelicans found dead

Almost two dozen dolphins and pelicans are found dead in Baldwin County and researchers don't know why.

Twenty-three dead dolphins and pelicans have been found dead in Baldwin County. The latest was found near Fort Morgan last Thursday.

"It was my first experience seeing a dolphin grounded like that," said Douglas Dean, who says he saw the dead animal and reported it.

He makes the walk down Fort Morgan Peninsula quite a bit because he uses the driftwood for carving. In the midst of enjoying the sights of the Gulf, he spotted something that made him do a double take. It was a dead dolphin.

"It was unusual to see something like that. So I went to check on it to see if there was something I could do," said Dean.

But it was too late. That's when biologists from the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies investigated. Since September, a total of seven dolphins have been found here. In addition to that, researchers also found 16 dead pelicans. Researchers say they are not sure what caused the deaths, but they are working to figure out what is happening in nature. FOX10 News talked to Marine researchers by phone Tuesday.

"We are getting these animals that are pretty decayed and it takes a lot of effort and a lot of samples," said Dr. Moby Solangi of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies. "Certainly when you have an animal that is dead with 16 dead pelicans next to it, that is certainly a concern."

Researchers say the deaths can be pinned on anything; from a biological occurrence to a criminal act. It takes about six to eight weeks to get initial results back.

Solangi says they have started to collect data to trace the deaths. However, Solangi says they are still in the early stages of determining the cause of this strange event. As for Dean, he hopes he doesn't make a similar discovery the next time he makes this walk.

"I hope something is done to stop this outbreak of deaths," said Dean.

Hubert Tate

No comments: