Dead dolphin washes up in Pass Christian
PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (WLOX) - A shocking discovery for one Pass Christian man Wednesday morning- a dead dolphin found washed up on the shore.
It’s a sad case, but it provides a unique opportunity for researchers studying biological indicators for the environment.
Perry Pezzarossi made the discovery as he was taking his morning walk on the beach Wednesday.
“There was something that didn’t belong on the beach,” Pezzarossi said. “I couldn’t tell what it was until I got much closer, and then I was like oh my gosh, it’s a baby dolphin. I definitely did not expect to see that on my normal walk at 7 a.m.”
He immediately called the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, and a team was brought in to recover the dolphin.
“Hopefully [we] find out what happened, can we prevent this from happening, is it something that’s normal, something abnormal,” Pezzarossi said. “We had some bad storms last night so I wanted to make sure that wasn’t the cause.”
“We treat everything like a crime scene, so we don’t move anything and collect all the data we need,” Theresa Madrigal with IMMS said.
Now, IMMS teams will work with different pathologists and veterinarians to determine a cause of death and any trends they should look out for in the future as this is one of the first finds of this season.
“The suspicion is this likely was a stillborn; we won’t really know until we look internally,” Madrigal said. “Usually around January or February is when the moms start to calf, so we do see a spike in strandings usually in February, March and April.”
The discovery was shocking but not rare according to researchers. It happens several times a year. In 2019, more than 100 dead dolphins and sea turtles washed up along the Mississippi coast.
“It is common in the sense that we do get between 50 to 60 animals that strand dead every year,” Madrigal said.
Because of these patterns, IMMS urges people to call their hotline if they stumble across the same find as Pezzarossi.
“I didn’t remember what the initials were - I found it, I thought they’re not gonna answer the phone, it’s before 8 o’clock,” Pezzarossi said. “They answered the phone, they responded immediately. Please, if you find one, please call the number.”
You can call IMMS at (888)-767-3657.
Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2023 WLOX. All rights reserved.