Infrequent Find Near Oregon Coast: Dolphin Stranding
Published 05/27/2015 at 5:11 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Seaside, Oregon) – Crews from the north Oregon coast's Seaside Aquarium Tuesday responded to a call in Ocean Park, Washington of a dolphin washed up on the beach. What they found was a deceased Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, a slightly rare find as these don't show up often along the Oregon or Washington coasts.(Dolphin photos courtesy Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium).
The dolphin was seven feet long, a male and about 250 pounds, said the aquarium's Tiffany Boothe.
“The dolphin had died before washing ashore,” Boothe said. “The dolphin was recovered by staff from the Seaside Aquarium and marine mammal experts from Portland State University will perform a necropsy on the animal to see if they can determine the cause of death. External observations suggest that this may have just been an old male who died of natural causes.”
Seaside Aquarium Keith Chandler said the body was still fresh so it hadn't been dead long. He noted the teeth were quite worn down, which was a sign it was an older animal. At this point, all that is speculation, he added. Nothing will be firmly understood until biologists in Portland are finished with the necropsy.
A few dolphins are found washed up every year, but Chandler said the Pacific White-Sided Dolphin is only encountered once or twice in any three-year period. Still, they are common to these waters, from the Aleutians down to the tip of Baja, California.
Chandler said the last time they encountered a Pacific White-Sided Dolphin was about a year ago, and it was still alive.
“But it didn't live long,” Chandler said. “It was a really sick animal so we had to have it euthanized. It had pneumonia, clogged lungs.”
Boothe said this type of dolphin is known for rather exuberant behavior, including leaping out of the water, belly flops and riding the bow waves from boats they encounter. They live about 40 years, perhaps a little longer.
They generally spend most of their time quite a ways offshore, but sometimes venture in close.
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