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Dolphin Dies on Beach in East Hampton

Tue, 03/12/2024 - 12:44
The Risso's dolphin that washed ashore at Georgica Beach later died before it could be rescued.
East Hampton Village Police Department

A live Risso's dolphin washed up on Georgica Beach on Sunday morning but died on the shore shortly after it was discovered, the East Hampton Village Police Department said in a report released Monday.

According to the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society, which recovered the dolphin and performed a necropsy, a parasitic infection was the primary cause of the dolphin's death.

The 10-foot-8-inch-long Risso's dolphin was an adult female. It was initially described as a "baby whale" by police, and it's easy to understand why: The Risso's dolphin is known to be one of the largest dolphin species that exists and is sometimes grouped into a category of marine mammals that also includes pygmy killer whales, melon-headed whales, and long-finned and short-finned pilot whales.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) says Risso's dolphins are not an endangered or threatened species. They are usually found in temperate and tropical ocean waters, preferring "deeper offshore" environments, "especially near the continental shelf edge and slope, where they can dive to at least 1,000 feet and hold their breath for 30 minutes. They are also very active on the ocean surface." 

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