Dolphin tissue testing yet to begin - - The News for South Mississippi

Dolphin tissue testing yet to begin

These dead baby dolphins were found washed up on Horn Island in February 2011. These dead baby dolphins were found washed up on Horn Island in February 2011.

By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - More dead dolphins washed up on the beaches of South Mississippi this week, but still no one seems to know what is killing them.

Gulfport's Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, led by Dr. Moby Solangi, has been taking tissue samples from the dead dolphins, and sending those off to the federal government. That's been going on for months.

But now, it has been learned that the feds have yet to send those samples off to be tested. So, the obvious question is why?

"It is really a question you should be asking the federal government," IMMS Director Dr. Solangi told us.

So we tried to ask federal officials, but got no answer. The only thing we know at this point is a letter, sent by NOAA to agencies gathering the samples, stated there is an ongoing criminal investigation. The dead dolphins are considered potential evidence in a lawsuit the federal government could file against BP.

So those dolphin tissue samples sit, somewhere in Washington.

Dr. Solangi said that some of those samples are frozen and some are in formaldehyde.

As to how long they can be preserved, Solangi said, "Some samples do have a shelf life, some samples are preserved and stay better for longer periods of time and others are short lived."

Dr. Solangi said the current speculation as to why the dolphins are dying centers on issues like infectious diseases, environmental issues, and the BP oil spill. The only thing we know for sure is, there will be no definitive answer, until the proper testing is done.

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