Effort to save dolphin fails

August 26, 1993|By Staff Report

The National Aquarium's marine mammal hospital received its first dolphin patient yesterday, but was unable to save its life.

The critically ill juvenile male found stranded a day earlier on the New Jersey shore died about 7:45 p.m., eight hours after its arrival in Baltimore aboard a Coast Guard helicopter.

The striped dolphin had been rescued from the beach at Sea Isle City, N.J., and taken initially to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J.

A necropsy -- an animal autopsy -- was planned to study the animal and identify any medical problems that contributed to its death.

The dolphin, 5 feet 10 inches long and weighing 125 pounds, was thought to be a juvenile or adolescent. At maturity, the animals average 7 1/2 feet in length.

The aquarium exhibits bottlenose dolphins but had never received a stranded dolphin for medical treatment. Its hospital, which opened in 1991, was unsuccessful in two attempts at rehabilitating small stranded whales but nursed three of eight stranded seals back to health.

Most recently, a harbor seal stranded at Ocean City in April was nursed back to health and freed off the Maine coast in July.

Striped dolphins travel in large social groups in deep ocean waters. Bottlenose dolphins tend to be larger and are found closer to the coast, a spokeswoman said.

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