Beached dolphins increase in Southern California

Necropsies have been performed to determine the cause of the strandings

Wendy Leeds Animal Care coordinator, left, with volunteer Colby Hollabaugh, center, and Amanda Walters education instructor receive a dolphin at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, Calif. (Pacific Marine Mammal Center via AP)

Experts were working Tuesday to determine the cause of an increase in dolphin strandings along the Southern California coast.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center said it has responded to six beached dolphins this month and received reports of two others.

READ MORE: Scientists identify pink salmon as another possible threat to orcas

Necropsies have been performed on all the dolphins to try to determine the cause of the strandings.

The centre’s veterinarian, Kristen Sakamaki, said in a statement there were a variety of potential reasons, including viral infections, bacterial infections and toxins.

“We may not always get a definitive answer, but we consider our research with these dolphins to be a very important piece to the puzzle in providing clues as to what is going on in our nearshore habitats,” Sakamaki said.

The centre said that, according to the Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System, there have recently been blooms of algae that can produce domoic acid, which is toxic for marine mammals, seabirds and humans when ingested.

Southern California has also had heavy winter rains that can cause or worsen strandings by flushing excess nutrients and harmful toxins from land into the oceans, the centre said.

The two stranding events in which the animals were not recovered involved a dolphin that was immediately washed back out to sea and another that washed up in an area where it was unsafe for a rescue team to respond.

The centre said people who see a stranded marine mammal should call in experts and should not touch it or try to help it back into the ocean.

The strandings began with three common dolphins beaching themselves on Feb. 4. One washed up dead at Huntington Beach and two more were rescued alive at Laguna Beach but had to be euthanized after examination.

A dead bottlenose dolphin washed ashore at Corona del Mar on Feb. 10, followed five days later by a common dolphin. Both were pregnant.

The most recent stranding was a common dolphin at Corona del Mar on Feb. 18.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Residents say Monday’s fatal crash in Saanich wasn’t unexpected

Speed has long been a concern for neighbours in the Cumberland and Union roads area

Defense says burden of proof not met in double murder case against Oak Bay father

Closing statements begin in trial for man accused of killing daughters Christmas 2017

UPDATED: Hundreds gather to reflect and remember UVic students killed in bus crash

Campus community invited to reflect, support one another

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Province overrules View Royal; plans to build handyDART facility

View Royal Mayor calls province’s actions “heavy handed” and “unusual”

WATCH: United Way #Drive4Five event launches campaign to raise $5 million

More than 80,000 lives changed last year by the United Way

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Man who crushed Nanaimo RCMP cars with stolen truck gets more jail time

Majore Jackson, 34, sentenced to two more years in jail in provincial court in Nanaimo

B.C. dog breeder banned again after 46 dogs seized

The SPCA seized the animals from Terry Baker, 66, in February 2018

Surrey mom allegedly paid $400,000 for son in U.S. college bribery scam

Xiaoning Sui, 48, was arrested in Spain on Monday night

Three dogs found shot dead in Prince George ditch

The three adult dogs appeared to be well cared for before being found with gunshot wounds, BC SPCA says

B.C. party bus company to be monitored after 40 intoxicated teens found onboard

Police received tip teens and young adults were drinking on party buses and limousines in Surrey

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Bear killed in Kimberley after chasing girl, wreaking havoc on town

This particular brown-coloured bear has been the subject of many calls this summer; very food habituated, CO says

Most Read