4 Dolphins Found Dead in Florida, Unclear If Red Tide the Cause

August 8, 2018 Updated: August 8, 2018

At least four dolphins were found dead off the shores of Venice, Florida, in the past day, according to the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.

Officials at the laboratory said that two bottlenose dolphins were found dead on Aug. 7 on a Gulf of Mexico Beach in Venice. On Aug. 8, they were notified of two more dead dolphins, and they found one at Intracoastal Waterway near Snake Island and the other at Caspersen Beach.

It’s not clear if the dolphin deaths had to do with the toxic red tide algae that have appeared off Florida’s coast, which has killed a number of animals and shuttered beaches.

Mote's Stranding Investigations Program had a busy night and morning: Last night (Aug. 7) they recovered two deceased…

Posted by Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium on Wednesday, August 8, 2018

“Two are males, one is female, and the fourth animal’s sex is not yet known,” said Mote Marine officials.

“Mote staff will conduct necropsies (animal autopsies) on all four dolphins at our campus on City Island, Sarasota, to investigate what happened to them. All four were found moderately to severely decomposed, complicating our efforts to examine and collect samples for analyses, but we are dedicated to learning all we can and sharing that knowledge for the benefit of dolphin populations,” the Mote statement said.

Red tide has been at high and medium levels at Caspersen Beach, where a dolphin was found, according to the Florida Wildlife Commission (pdf), NBC2 reported.

Police found a dead manatee in Venice over the weekend, and they blamed it on the red tide, the NBC report stated.

Meanwhile, a whale shark was recently found dead near Sanibel Island, but it is not clear if red tide had to do with the death.

The Florida Wildlife Commission said in an Aug. 3 update: “In Southwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis (red tide) was observed at background concentrations in two samples collected from Pinellas County, background concentrations in two samples collected from Manatee County, background to high concentrations in 24 samples collected from or offshore of Sarasota County, low to high concentrations in 10 samples collected from Charlotte County, background to high concentrations in 27 samples collected from or offshore of Lee County, and very low to high concentrations in nine samples collected from Collier County.”

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