Published Date: 2004-03-12 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Dolphin die-off - USA (FL)
Archive Number: 20040312.0687
DOLPHIN DIE-OFF - USA (FLORIDA)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 12 Mar 2004
From: Barbara D. Graeber BSN RN CIC<BDGraeber@aol.com>
Source: Gainesville Sun, 11 Mar 2004 [edited]
At least 14 dolphins found dead in Panhandle bay
At least 14 bottlenose dolphins were found dead Wednesday and Thursday in
and along the shore of St. Josephs Bay in the Florida Panhandle, said state
and federal officials who were unsure of the cause.
Post-mortems will be conducted in an effort to learn why the marine mammals
died, said Thomas Pitchford, a biologist at the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission's Marine Mammal Pathology Laboratory in St. Petersburg.
One carcass was found Wednesday and the others Thursday, all at St. Joseph
Peninsula State Park on Cape San Blas about 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee.
"This is not a species that typically strands," Pitchford said. He said all
were dead when found.
Several dead fish also were found in the bay, which might indicate a toxin
such as red tide might be to blame, he said.
Blair Mase, Southeast stranding coordinator for the National Marine
Fisheries Service in Miami, agreed, but she said nothing has been ruled out.
Some of the carcasses were found floating while others were beached, Mase
said. The Conservation Commission was using an aircraft to determine
whether other dead animals were in the bay.
[If red tide is in the area and the dolphins are consuming fish intoxicated
by the various organisms that cause red tide, that could be a possibility.
ProMED-mail would appreciate knowing the definitive cause of the dolphins'