2010-10-07 / News

Bottlenose dolphin found on Jamestown beach

By Sam Bari

Bottlenose dolphin found on Jamestown beach. Photo by Will Tuthill Bottlenose dolphin found on Jamestown beach. Photo by Will Tuthill When Will Tuthill went to check on his boat moored just south of Green’s Pier last Tuesday morning, he couldn’t help but notice a foul odor coming from the beach.

Tuthill said that he followed the smell and discovered the remains of a bottlenose dolphin that had washed ashore with the incoming tide.

He went on to say that from outward appearances the mammal looked as if it had died from oil fouling. He also said that the dolphin had been dead for some time – at least a few days, possibly longer.

Apparently, the dolphin had visible evidence of oil covering its remains. Tuttle speculated that the dolphin had died from swimming in the oil slime from the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill, got caught in the north-moving Gulf Stream and eventually washed ashore at the south end of Narragansett Bay.

He called the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and reported his find to Kathy Beck. She contacted the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn. and spoke to the marine mammal experts, who are the only personnel in the area qualified and licensed to remove remains of large sea animals.

A team from the Mystic Aquarium responded on Wednesday to remove the remains and perform an autopsy to establish the causes for the dolphin’s demise.

Bottlenose dolphins are rarely found in Rhode Island waters. They are more common in warmer tropical climates.

According to an article in the Providence Examiner last July, a beached dolphin found itself stranded on Cedar Tree Point Beach in Warwick.

Local residents Mike Messier and Ryan Albertson were out on their inflatables when they spotted that beached dolphin. They used their rafts as guardrails and guided the dolphin back to open water, ultimately saving its life.

Messier and Albertson said that the dolphin stayed with them for about an hour, let the men pet it and then swam back to the open sea.

Wickford Harbormaster Mark Knapp reported spotting a bottlenose dolphin off North Kingstown Town Beach at the end of June. He said it was the first dolphin he had seen in 10 years. Knapp contacted the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute because the dolphin appeared to be wearing some sort of tracking device around its neck.

Lincoln O’Barry, executive producer for “Dolphin Warriors’/Animal Planet” was recently quoted as saying, “There are more dolphins than ever in the bayous of Alabama and other areas where they are not normally seen.”

He said they are running from something, more than likely the contamination from the oil spill in the Gulf.

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