Dolphin death is third in a week at the shore

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SEA GIRT — The deteriorated remains of a dolphin were found on the Sea Girt beach Monday and a marine expert said stormy seas are likely to blame.

“We’ve had at least three weeks of constant heavy seas and rough surf along the Jersey Shore and the healthier animals can fend off the heavy seas and everything, but the weaker animals and younger animals aren’t able to handle that,” said Robert Schoelkopf, founder and executive director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center [MMSC] in Brigantine.

The dolphin, whose presence was reported by the Sea Girt Police Department, was the fifth marine animal to wash onto a shore beach within a week. Another dolphin washed up along Sea Bright beach Oct. 3 [shown in photo] and a third in Sea Isle Oct. 8.

On Oct. 2, two pygmy sperm whales were found along Brigantine beach, one of which was an infant.

According to Mr. Schoelkopf, it is also difficult for the animals to find food when the water is this rough. All animals, with the exception of the Sea Girt dolphin, are currently in the possession of the MMSC pending lab results for cause of death. However, he said, “The [Sea Girt] animal was too badly decomposed to determine anything other than the fact it was dead.” 

MMSC, a private nonprofit organization founded by Mr. Schoelkopf in 1978, requests that a phone call be made to its center immediately when marine animals are found along the shore. They can be reached at 609-266-0538.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.