Officials: Too early to say if dolphin death is related to red t - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Officials: Too early to say if dolphin death is related to red tide

Dr. Solangi says it is too early to say if the death is related to the red tide. (Photo source: WLOX News) Dr. Solangi says it is too early to say if the death is related to the red tide. (Photo source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Scientists with the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies responded to reports of a dead dolphin on the beach in Biloxi Thursday morning.

Now, the death is raising serious questions.

"This is a juvenile. It's about five feet long. It's unusual for this time of year to see dolphins this young dead on the beach," said IMMS Director Dr. Mobi Solangi. 

The question: Could the dolphin death be the latest casualty resulting from an unprecedented algal bloom outbreak in the northern Gulf of Mexico?

The red tide, a natural occurrence that produces a toxic environment for marine life, has claimed the lives of fish and birds along South Mississippi beaches recently.

"When you are dealing with red tide you have issues with the liver, kidneys, brain and lungs. These animals are exposed through the water, air and eating contaminated fish," Solangi said.

While red tide is common, the latest event has taken a massive toll on wildlife from Florida, into Alabama and currently in Mississippi waters; causing a domino effect throughout the food chain.

Dr. Solangi and his staff transported the dead dolphin to the IMMS laboratory in an effort to establish a correlation between the presence of the algae bloom and the dolphin death.

"Right now it's premature to say it's linked to red tide. We'll do the necropsy and testing along with toxicology to find out," Solangi added.

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