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General News    H2'ed 8/24/13

Dolphins Deaths Continue on the East Coast, Exclusive Photos

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Dead dolphin washed up at Ocean View Beach, Sat Aug 24.
Dead dolphin washed up at Ocean View Beach, Sat Aug 24.
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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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." 

In July, NOAA stated  "Elevated strandings of bottlenose dolphins have occurred in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Current bottlenose dolphin strandings are over seven times the historical average for the month of July for the Mid-Atlantic Region. All age classes of bottlenose dolphins are involved and strandings range from a few live animals to mostly dead animals with many very decomposed." 

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.

Based on the rapid increase in strandings over the last two weeks and the geographic extent of these mortalities, an infectious pathogen is at the top of the list of potential causes for this UME, but all potential causes of these mortalities will be evaluated. Work is underway to determine whether an infectious agent affecting these dolphins is present in collected tissue samples."

Dead dolphin washed up at Ocean View Beach, Sat Aug 24.
Dead dolphin washed up at Ocean View Beach, Sat Aug 24.
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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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.

Dolphin Healing
Dolphin Healing
(Image by Meryl Ann Butler)
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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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