Runner discovers two dead dolphins on the Coast in Long Beach

Runner discovers two dead dolphins on the Coast in Long Beach
Twenty-eight dolphins have been found on the beach this year in South Mississippi. (Photo Source: WLOX)

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Three dead dolphins were discovered on the Coast in two days. Two of them were found within a mile of each other in Long Beach Saturday. Officials tell WLOX this discovery tells a lot about what's going on in the water.

Runner Susan LaRosa made the discovery Saturday. She said it's not something she's used to seeing.

"Usually I'll see like dead fish, jellyfish, and things like that," LaRosa said.

Dr. Mobi Solangi, the Director of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, said dolphin deaths are not uncommon. However, he said seeing this many deaths in such a short time early in the season is concerning.

"Usually you start seeing them in March, April, May," Solangi said. "This season we're seeing a lot more babies show up initially."

The dolphins discovered Saturday showed signs of a deceased animal.

Solangi said, "When an animal dies it starts decomposing. Its mouth swells, its tongue swells. It is pretty gross after it's been decomposing for many days."

He said the two dolphins discovered in Long Beach have most likely been dead for some time, at least four days. Once they reach land, that's where Lauren Cooley comes in. She measures the mammal and takes pictures, then bags it up safely, and it's off for testing.
"We are going to send all these tissues for toxicology, pathology, to Mississippi State University," Solangi said.

Solangi and his team are now investigating how the dolphins died. He said these deaths could tell a bigger story.

"If they are doing well that means the environment is doing well. If something is wrong, they would be the ones to reflect that change. By monitoring them we are able to tell what's going on in the environment and how it would affect us," he said.

Solangi said his team typically sees about 40 dolphins wash ashore each year. If you spot one, call the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies at 1-888-SOS-DOLPHIN.

That third baby dolphin was found dead on Ship Island on Friday.

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