Recent turtle and dolphin deaths raise concerns

Updated: Apr. 18, 2019 at 3:13 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Nearly 40 dead dolphins and sea turtles have local marine wildlife officials concerned about potentially dangerous changes in the local ecosystems. Two veterinarian pathologists from Mississippi State University are looking into the rash of deaths to find answers.

On Friday another dead dolphin washed up on the beach in Gulfport just south of Hewes Ave.

Meanwhile Tim Morgan and Debra Moore are performing what’s called a necropsy, which is basically an animal autopsy on two deceased baby dolphins at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies.

"We look at them, and sometimes it’s very quick with a necropsy and we can look at them or we can look at them microscopically,” Moore said.

So, what’s in the water out there that’s causing this rash of dolphins and turtle deaths? Moby Solangi with IMMS thinks he has an answer, and it could be the recent opening of the Bonnet Carré Spillway.

"Trillions of gallons have come down from the Bonnet Carré Spillway,” Solangi said. “That has changed the habitat and the food source and all sorts of changes for these animals.”

The goal is to find out why those recent numbers have gone down so quickly.

"We have the largest dolphin population in the U.S., and it’s also a nursery,” Solangi added. “This is also where the most endangered sea turtle, the Kemp’s ridley, makes its home.”

The Bonnet Carré Spillway opened Feb. 27 earlier this year.

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