Post mortem on stranded dolphin released

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Post mortem on stranded dolphin released
White-beaked dolphin during the necropsy at ZSL (Credit: CSIP-ZSL)

A white-beaked found on an Isle of Wight beach stranded because of a bacterial infection according to the post mortem examination.

The animal was found to have significant infection in areas such as the brain and scientists believe that this was a major contributing factor to the abnormal behaviour and a likely explanation for the animal becoming distressed.

The animal was reported to British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 4th January 2018 as having standed on Hope Beach near Sandown.

It was refloated by members of the public, but re-stranded after having been seen butting up against a harbour wall. After assessment by on-scene experts, it was decided the humane approach was to euthanise the dolphin.

The carcass was sent to the Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme (CSIP) and ZSL for post mortem anaylsis (know as a necropsy in animals) and the findings published on Facebook over the weekend.

Amongst the more interesting observations were injuries to either side of the animal that CSIP suggest may be consistent with grey seal interactions. However, these hypothesised injuries were not a significant factor in the animals death.

Of more significance in the stranding was the discovery of wide-spread infection from Gemella sp., including in the brain and is this is thought to have caused the abnormal behaviour.

The animal was 2.48m long and female, in otherwise good condition. An incidental piece of fishing rope was found in one of the animals stomachs and it is thought this individual was part of the Lyme Bay resident population.

The report was published on Facebook and can be found with images at the CSIP page here.

ORCA made strandings one of the key threats examined during our The State of European Cetaceans 2017 report, discussing data from one of the worst years on record for UK cetacean strandings. You can read the report in full, as well as ORCA's other work monitoring and protecting white-beaked dolphins, here.