Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Unprecedented Dolphin Die Off Witnessed Along Eastern US Coast

Alan McStravick for – Your Universe Online

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced unsettling and unfortunate news this week centered on the bottlenose dolphin and Cetacean populations on the east coast of the United States. We are witnessing the most unprecedented stranding and die-off of these creatures in our recorded history.

The last major incidence of stranding and die-off of these populations occurred in 1987-88 and was responsible for an estimated 30 percent decimation of the coastal population. This current scourge, with data collected between July of this year and November 3, has exceeded the total of the previous epidemic.

According to Teri Rowles, coordinator of the federal fisheries and marine mammal health and stranding response team, “We’re less than halfway through that [1987-88] time frame and we have surpassed the number of Cetaceans in that die-off.”

The east coast, from New York to Florida, has, since July, seen a total of 753 bottlenose dolphins stranded. In a typical year authorities claim the average strand rate rests at 74 dolphins. Of this record number of strandings, a full 95 percent that have washed ashore are dead. Those still alive typically die a short time later.

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