61ºF

Dead dolphin found floating in Sisters Creek

FWC investigates cause of death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the 11th time this year a dolphin has been found dead in or along a Northeast Florida waterway.

An mid-morning fishing trip to the Joe Carlucci Sisters Creek Boat Ramp led one fisherman to the latest grim discovery -- a deceased female dolphin.

Biologist Allison Perna was one member of a Florida Fish and Wildlife crew that arrived soon after.

"So this is a fresher dolphin, so we are hoping that we are going to get more information than a more decomposed dolphin," said Perna.

Based on what they've seen there are no signs of blunt force injury. 

So now these biologists are searching for internal clues to help determine why this 390-pound dolphin died.

Specimens collected during the necropsy will also be closely examined by pathologists with the Georgia Aquarium and NOAA.

Biologists also tell us that the dolphin was lactating when discovered.

"We are going to look closely at the reproductive system to see if she has a fetus inside, but if not we'd assume she has a calf somewhere out there," said Perna.

While this mother dolphin may have died from natural causes, Perna says they can’t yet rule out that she could have been tangled up in fishing gear floating in the river.

FWC says marine mammal deaths aren't out of the ordinary. In fact, about 30 dolphins and whales are found dead each year in our area.

If you happened to see a deceased and ailing wild animal outside as the warmer days draw near, you are urged to do just as that fisherman did and call the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-3922.