Why Are Dolphins Dying on East Coast? Experts Alarmed
Nearly 120 corpses have washed up so far this summer, government says.
Trained responders examine a dead male dolphin on Ocean View Beach in Norfolk, Virginia, on August 1.
are washing up dead in unusually high numbers along the U.S. East Coast
this summer—a "very alarming" situation that has experts scrambling to
decipher the cause.
Nearly 120 corpses have washed ashore
in coastal states from New York to Virginia in July and the first week
of August, which is much higher than the normal number of strandings
attributed to natural deaths. Virginia has had the highest mortality, with 64 animals found during that period.
One of the dolphins tested positive for morbillivirus, a measles-like, airborne virus that's often fatal in dolphins.
morbillivirus epidemic hit East Coast bottlenose dolphins in 1987 and
1988, wiping out at least 900 animals and striking a major blow to that
population of migratory dolphins.