ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — Surprise sighting in Anne Arundel County. A pod of dolphins was spotted swimming in the West River.
Amy Yensi has more on what’s behind this unexpected visit.
Conditions in the water may be behind the rare visit. Some people in the area say the last time they spotted dolphins in the area was at least a few years ago.
Nathan Frankoff filmed the unplanned dolphin encounter on his cell phone. He was captaining a Severn riverkeeper monitoring boat the morning of July 11 and spotted the nearly two dozen dolphins swimming near the Naval Academy wall.
“`Wow.’ That’s about all I say all the time in the video,” he said.
According to our media partner, the Baltimore Sun, there have been several dolphin sightings in the Chesapeake Bay and Anne Arundel County rivers this month.
Jack Cover is a general curator at the National Aquarium.
“They’re coming into the bay during the warmer months for food. Basically what this means, they’re finding an abundant food source in those rivers near Annapolis,” Cover said.
The dolphins’ current food source has struggled with low sediment levels and high pollution. Last year, researchers at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Sciences noticed a slight improvement in the bay.
Experts say the dolphin sightings are more than just a spectacle. Their visit is an indicator of the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.
“We’ve been seeing a general increase in the amount of oxygen—dissolved oxygen—within the water,” said Severn riverkeeper Hannah Piecer.
And breathing new life into these waters.
WJZ was out in that water for at least an hour but we did not see any dolphins. We were told when it’s this hot, they hang out near the bottom of bodies of water to stay cool.
Dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Touching, feeding, harassing or following them is discouraged and can lead to fines or jail time.