The edge of an estuary can be full of surprises, some not always scenic.
A dead dolphin washed ashore early Wednesday morning along the southern shore of New York Harbor, in Port Monmouth, NJ. The dolphin’s body had been badly decomposed suggesting it had passed away some time ago.
The approximately five-foot long dolphin was perhaps a sub-adult or in human terms – a teenager. Adult males range in size from about 8 to 13 feet, and adult females range in size from about 7 to 12 feet.
The cause of death is unknown, but there are sadly many modern-day threats to end the life of a Bottlenose dolphin. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, whales and dolphins continue to be threatened by:
There is also evidence to suggest that chemcial pollution is weakening the immune systems of marine mammals. Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) including pesticides such as DDT, and industrial chemicals; most famously the Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a major hazard. PCBs are linked to immune system suppression and reproductive failure. In New York Harbor and surrounding waters, we are still sadly living with a legacy of polluted water.
Staff at the NJ Marine Mammal Stranding Center were notified of the dead dolphin in Port Monmouth. If you see a marine mammal that appears dead, injured, entangled, sick, or being harassed by a person, in New Jersey call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center at 609-266-0538. In New York, call the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation at 631-369-9829.