Dolphin Deaths Probed

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 4:12pm

Unusually high number of deaths and beachings reported along central Florida coast.

Researchers at Hubbs-SeaWorld are searching for a link between a high numbers of dolphin and whale deaths along the central Florida coast.

Scientists said there have been 75 deaths to date, and though it's not a record number, it's still considered high.

Two dolphins were found dead in Brevard County's Indian River Lagoon, and a pygmy sperm whale had to be euthanized when it was found stranded in New Smyrna Beach over the weekend.

Between January and May, 40 dolphins and 10 whales died.

After months of study the investigation found no common denominator that would lead them to call the deaths an unusual mortality event.

It wasn't an algae bloom that sickened the creatures.

Some were thin, but not starving.

They had various diseases.

Researchers concluded the only possible reason was our frigid winter season.

Manatees, birds and fish died in big numbers due to the cold conditions.

Scientists said dolphins and whales were not externally impacted by the weather, but older animals might have been weakened, when other marine life in the food chain died off.

In 2009, 55 animals died, and 75 have died in 2010.

The folks at Hubbs-Seaworld said it's not considered a dramatic increase.

There have been years when they've seen 90 or even 100 dolphins and whales stranded.

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