UPDATE: Latest Dead Dolphin Was Pregnant

By Brian Thompson
|  Wednesday, Jul 22, 2009  |  Updated 10:34 AM EDT
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Wayward Dolphins Dying Off

Scott Longfield

The dead dolphin was identified by its dorsal fin.

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The female dolphin found dead on a Sea Bright, N.J., beach Christmas Day was pregnant. 
  
That's one finding from a necropsy done Friday at the University of pennsylvania on the latest death of a dolphin from a wayward pod that has been in the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers since June.  

   But the female dolphin also had apparently not eaten recently...as no fresh food was found in her  stomach.
   
Advocates have been worried since cold weather set in that there would not be enough fish in the two coastal rivers for the large pod to eat. 
  
While initial necropsies on two other dead members of the pod discovered so far have found obvious signs of pneumonia, that was not the case with this Christmas Day female. 
  
Bob Schoelkopf of the Marine Mammal Starnding Center in Brigantine, New jersey tells nbcnewyork.com that "health assessments (of the remaining pod members) should be made by qualified marine mammal veterinarians."
   
NOAA's Marine Fisheries Agency has observers on the rivers, but has yet to say if it has sent veterinarians there to explore their health. 
  
The federal agency, which has legal jurisdiction over the animals, decided this Fall against a rescue effort, believing that wild animals should be allowed to survive on their own. 
  
Advocates for the dolphins argue that human influences may have caused the dolphins to wander into the rivers, and have urged a rescue effort. 
  
With both the mother, and baby she was carrying, dead, tissue samples are being sent to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. for further testing as to cause of death. 
  
News 4 New York spotted four remaining dolphins in the Shrewsbury the day after Christmas, and it's believed as many as ten are still in that river or the adjoining Navesink. 

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