Dolphin Beached Thursday on L.I. Dies Day Later

Abrasions Not the Only Factor in Dolphin Death

By Juan De Jesus
|  Friday, Jun 4, 2010  |  Updated 4:32 PM EDT
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Rescue workers are racing against time to save a dolphin that washed up on West Gilgo Beach.

Rescue workers are racing against time to save a dolphin that washed up on West Gilgo Beach.

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A dolphin that turned up on shore at Gilgo Beach in Babylon died Friday morning, according to rescuers from the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

The dolphin died between 9:30 and 10 a.m..

"We're going to conduct an examination of the animal to hopefully find out some clues as to why it died," the Riverhead Foundation's Julika Wocial told Newsday. "We really don't know why it expired."

Wocial said she doubted scratches and abrasions the dolphin suffered as it came ashore contributed to its death.

She said, however, the animal, known as a common dolphin, had "elevated breathing" throughout the night and never swam normally.

An necropsy is being performed to determine the cause of death and the dolphins age.

Rescue workers, Nassau and Suffolk County police and State Park police responded to the beached dolphin on Thursday at about 4:30 p.m.

Rob DiGiovanni, senior biologist and director of the Riverhead Foundation, told Newsday that the efforts were crucial in keeping the mammal alive. The biologist also noted that the survival rate in cases where dolphins come ashore is roughly 10 percent.

"It's a really big hurdle to get over once you have the animal in rehab," he said earlier Friday. "There are a lot of factors, not the least of which is the cause of the stranding and the stress of the rehab itself."

The dolphin was treated in an outdoor tank at Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead.

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