A Sad Tail


Well this sure seemed like a bad omen on the day of Poseidon’s Parade. On the morning of Saturday, September 21, a bottlenose dolphin washed up dead around Beach 102nd Street.

After early morning, beachgoers reported the animal, NYC Parks Department staff responded to the scene to keep crowds away until experts could respond to perform a necropsy. The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) responded. The Rockaway Times reached out to them for information on a possible cause of death, but the definite answer may not come for a while. However, there was no evidence of ingested plastic or a vessel strike, a common cause of death for local marine life. “We did not find anything significant other than some lung worms and splenic cysts. We took samples to send to a pathologist to help determine a cause of death. Those results may take several months to come back,” AMCS said.

Although locals can see plenty of dolphins alive and well from the shoreline nowadays, it is not very common for them to wash up dead. The last report of a dolphin washing up dead was in May 2015, and before that, August 2013.
However AMCS says last week was a particularly rough one for marine life around New York waters. “AMCS responded to seven animals in seven days last week, including two whales, a dolphin, and four sea turtles. Three of the sea turtles had evidence of human interaction,” the organization posted to its Facebook page. One of the whales, a right whale, had been found entangled in the past, and the sea turtles all showed evidence of a vessel strike.

AMCS says there are ways people can do their part to prevent more tragedies. “Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in the New York Bight, but it is preventable. Picking up trash from beaches, not releasing balloons, opting for reusable alternatives to plastic, and keeping an eye out for marine life in our shared waters are just some of the things you can do to promote marine conservation through action,” the organization posted.

If you come across a deceased or distressed animal, report it to AMCS by calling 631-317-0030 or the NY Marine Rescue Center at 631-369-9840.