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'Vandalized' dolphin found dead in Port Aransas leads to questions

Posted at 9:54 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 10:59:17-04

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network says it's been receiving receiving reports of dolphins stranded this time of year.

Marine Biologist Sarah Piwetz said March historically is the highest month in terms of cases across the state.

One such case the non-profit received reports of is a dead dolphin found on Port Aransas' south jetty earlier this month.

When they get reports like this, they send a response team to collect samples to determine a cause of illness or death. The orange-colored mark is to let the public know that they have been notified and responded, but were unable to remove the carcass.

The markings led to concern in the area that the dolphin's body was being vandalized, and further questions about why the body hadn't been removed.

"For this particular case, it's just logistically difficult and unsafe for us to try to remove such a large animal from the particular spot it's in," she said. "So in this case, what we do is we mark the animal with orange marking paint and we just put a number. Sometimes it's just a field ID number for our own reference, or the date that we responded."

Marine mammals are federally protected. If you find a dolphin, dead or alive, stranded on the beach, report it by calling 1-800-962-6625.

"There are a number of things that might bring an animal in to strand," Piwetz said. "Some may be ill, they may be injured, sometimes it's just a natural ocurrence."

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