Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dolphins up and down the East Coast are dying by the dozens. Even more have been found washed up from the Chesapeake Bay. It’s the deadliest summer for dolphins since the 1980s!
Kai Jackson has more on what could be causing the mysterious deaths.
Scientists remain baffled by the deaths of these dolphins but the National Aquarium is at the forefront, trying to figure it out.
More Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have died. A mystery that marine scientists have been working to solve has gotten worse. Some 25 dolphins were found dead this weekend.
“Twenty-five dolphins in one weekend is something we can’t handle and if it continues at this rate, we’re gonna have to ask for more outside help,” said Susan Barco, Virginia Aquarium.
In Maryland, several more of the mammals turned up dead Friday into Saturday. The worst appears to be in the lower Chesapeake Bay, where now some 70 dolphins have died in August. That’s higher than the average number that die during August.
For the year, more than 200 of the mammals have died from New York to Virginia.
“Right now, we are in a state of unusual mortality event for bottlenose dolphins,” said Jennifer Dittmar.
Dittmar is the manager of the National Aquarium’s Animal Rescue division. She says pinpointing the cause of death for the dolphins could take months.
Baltimore’s National Aquarium, a leader in marine science, is critically involved in the effort to find out what’s killing Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. So far, necropsies of the mammals haven’t yielded any conclusive information. Some believe that disease and not human interaction is responsible, but so far, that’s only speculation.
The National Aquarium says saving the dolphins could in fact mean saving humans.
“Since this is such a widespread event, it is possible that this is some sort of infectious disease and it’s important to identify that disease and know whether or not it has a potential to affect humans,” Dittmar said.
Scientists say performing the necropsies on the dolphins is a time-consuming process, so finding the cause of the deaths could take months.