Another dead dolphin washed up onto Norfolk Virginia's Ocean View beach, just after 5 pm, Sat. Aug, 24.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared an Unusual Mortality Event for bottlenose dolphins on Aug. 8 after more than 100 dead bottlenose dolphins washed ashore in Virginia.
An Unusual Mortality Event (UME) is defined under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as: "a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response."
On the website page updated Aug. 20, NOAA says:
"There are no unifying gross necropsy findings although several dolphins have presented with pulmonary lesions. Preliminary testing of tissues from one dolphin indicates possible morbillivirus infection, although it is too early to say whether or not morbillivirus may be causing this event.
The public is warned to stay away from the dead dolphins, because of concerns about diseases that could be passed to humans or pets.
National Geographic Daily News noted "Overall, the experts pointed out that the dead dolphins may be alerting us to troubles in our oceans.
Said NOAA's Spradlin, 'Marine mammals are like the canary in the coal mine"--many bottlenose dolphins live on the same coasts and eat the same fish that we do.
'Our first mandate is to protect the dolphins, but the underlying bigger picture is if things are hurting these animals,' he said, '[they] could also be hurting people as well.'"
25 years ago in 1987-1988, a bottlenose dolphin morbillivirus mortality event occurred along the mid-Atlantic coast, involving over 740 animals and spanning from New Jersey to Florida.