Dead dolphin found on Gwynn’s Island beach

by Charlie Koenig - Posted on Jul 31, 2013 - 01:10 PM

Photo: Janet Schroeder of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s Stranding Response Program in Virginia Beach hauls in the carcass of a dolphin Monday morning on a beach on Gwynn’s Island. Photo by Michelle Peyroux

Janet Schroeder of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s Stranding Response Program in Virginia Beach hauls in the carcass of a dolphin Monday morning on a beach on Gwynn’s Island. Photo by Michelle Peyroux

The body of a battered and decomposing dolphin washed up on a private beach on Gwynn’s Island on Friday, one of several that have done so recently in the area, according to Linda D’Eri with the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center’s Stranding Response Program in Virginia Beach.

"We are experiencing a high number right now," D’Eri said, adding that they have not yet determined the cause. Janet Schroeder and Michelle Thompson, two volunteers with the Stranding Response Program, came to Mathews on Monday to pick up the animal carcass in order to conduct a necropsy. They also picked up another dolphin in Heathsville, D’Eri said.

"When I called VIMS on Friday, they immediately connected me to the stranding team," said East Shore Drive resident Dan Hill. A niece visiting Hill found the dolphin. Hill said that Schroeder told him that it appeared to be a juvenile, based on the sharpness of the teeth.

Hill said that another dead dolphin was also found on Friday near Old Cherry Point Road. However, the homeowner attached a line to this particular dolphin and, using his jet ski, towed it farther out into the Chesapeake Bay and released it. "That dolphin had lost most of his tail; the one on Shore Drive was not damaged in that way," Hill said.