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Sun Herald Article by Mary Perez - March 10, 2009
No Cause Known in Deaths of Three Dolphins

SunHeraldGULFPORT - Three dolphin calves washed up on the beaches in Biloxi and Gulfport in one week, and there is still no answer why..

The first was found near the Interstate 110 exit loop in Biloxi on Feb. 28. Two more were discovered Saturday, one close to the same spot in Biloxi and the third near DeBuys Road in Gulfport.

Tissue samples taken from the badly decomposed dolphins are being sent out for testing. "It usually takes a week or two before we get some results," said Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.

The dolphins move into shallow water to give birth this time of year, and it's quite possible more calves could wash up on the beach. He said there is a better chance of finding the cause of death if the public reports a beached dolphin immediately, by calling 1-888-SOS-DOLPHIN (1-888-767-3657).

"Certainly we're looking at the biological indicators," he said. It could be a case of natural mortality, with the calves being stillborn or unable to nourish. Calves rely solely on their mothers' milk for five to six months, he said.

The water temperature off Biloxi is about 61 degrees and Solangi said the cool water may be a factor.

By Mary Perez

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