Tell NOAA They Should Have Saved New Jersey Dolphins

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Originally Posted: 12 April 2009

Tell NOAA They Should Have Saved New Jersey Dolphins

Tell the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) they should have removed Dolphins which would have saved their lives.

CONTACT:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 5128
Washington, DC 20230
email

INFORMATION

Another dead bottlenose dolphin was found today in the same New Jersey river where a debate raged last year over whether a pod of 16 of the animals could survive the winter.

The mammal was spotted today floating in the Shrewsbury River by workers on the Route 36 bridge linking Sea Bright and Highlands.

A dolphin swims in the Navesink River near where it meets the Shrewsbury River in 2008. A dead dolphin was found in the Shrewsbury river today, and investigators are looking into whether it belonged to the pod trapped in the river during the winter.

It was decomposing and white, indicating it might have been dead in the water for a long time.

Teri Frady, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has jurisdiction over the animals, said tests were planned Wednesday to determine whether the dead dolphin was among those that spent half of last year in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers.

"I don't think it's possible to know yet," she said.

Bob Schoelkopf, co-director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, said he fears the dolphin is one of those his group fought a losing battle last year to have relocated, fearing for the animals' safety.

"I think it was," he said. "This is something I've seen before in previous years, where the animal dies over the winter and shows up in the spring when the water gets warmer."

The dolphins were at the center of a tug of war between animal rescuers who wanted them removed or coaxed out of the river and back out to sea, and federal wildlife officials, who decided to leave them alone unless they appeared to be in imminent danger.

In January, the pod had dwindled to five, and there were fears they would drown under the ice of the river. Dolphins must surface to breathe air.

The owner and several employees of a Highlands seafood restaurant said they saw three to five of the mammals swim into Sandy Hook Bay on Jan. 15 before the Shrewsbury River froze over.

That led to speculation that the last of the dolphins might have safely made it out of the river and back out to sea.

If it is determined to have been part of the river pod, the dolphin would be the fourth from the Shrewsbury-Navesink group to have died.


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