Maybe they’re trying to get into Green-Wood Cemetery.
A bottle-nosed dolphin was found belly up on Coney Island Beach Sunday evening, marking the fourth time this year humanity’s favorite sea mammals have found a terrestrial grave in the Borough of Kings.
Witnesses spotted the nearly seven-foot-long, male dolphin on the sands near W. 15th Street at 6:15 pm — although due to the creature’s advanced state of decomposition, many beach-goers smelled the sea creature before seeing him.
“It was giving off a very strong smell,” a witness told awalkintheparknyc.blogspot.com, which was first to report the death.
The dead dolphin was unceremoniously fork-lifted off the beach by Parks Department employees Sunday night, and deposited at a nearby Parks facility. The following day, biologists from the Riverhead Foundation collected the poor fella’s remains. They took him to their Long Island headquarters for study, according to Rob DiGiovanni, Executive Director and Senior Biologist at Riverhead Foundation. Riverhead rescues, rehabilitates, and releases seals, sea turtles, whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
At a necropsy conducted at the foundation Monday, Riverhead personnel determined that the deceased dolphin suffered severe lung-worm infection, which likely contributed to its death, according to DiGiovanni.
A conclusive cause of death, however, could not be determined because it had decomposed so much, which made taking skin samples impossible.
Sunday’s stinky find marks the third dead dolphin to wind up in Brooklyn, with one famously meeting its maker after taking a dip in the Gowanus Canal. Rounding out the borough’s deceased sea mammals was a baby porpoise that washed up on Coney Island Beach in February.
With 33 stranded whales, dolphins and porpoises, the New York Harbor and Long Island area is approaching the locales’ yearly average of stranded sea mammals, although the biologists in Riverhead have yet to draw any conclusions explaining the cause of this unfortunate trend.
“It appears to be a little busy this year, but what that means is hard to determine,” said DiGiovanni.
To help the Riverhead Foundation better understand the trend, the senior biologist there is asking people to phone their hot line, (631) 369–9829, and report any dolphin sighted in the area.
Reach reporter Colin Mixson at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-4514.