By Janet McConnaughey/The Associated Press
A wounded dolphin washed ashore in Biloxi and died while being carried to a rescue truck.
The adult male had a couple of 3-inch-deep gashes on its tail, and some possible shark bites when it was found Monday morning, said Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport.
It was nearly 8 feet long, weighed 350 to 400 pounds and apparently had been bitten after it was cut, Solangi said.
“The gashes had been there for a few days and the animal was debilitated,” Solangi said in a telephone interview. “When an animal is injured or debilitated, sharks and other predators go after it.”
He said the cuts don’t appear natural: “It wasn’t caused by any fish or shark.”
When the rescue team arrived, Solangi said, an adult and two children or teens were supporting the dolphin in shallow water. “They were keeping it afloat and breathing,” he said.
WLOX-TV (http://bit.ly/15c9qtE) first reported the stranding.
Solangi said he won’t be able to release results of Monday’s necropsy — including whether investigators think a propeller, knife or something else probably caused the cuts — because all dolphin deaths in states affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill are being investigated for possible connections to the spill and are under a court gag order.
The scientists conducting the necropsy took blood and tissue samples for a variety of tests.
“Most animals we have gotten have been dead for many days,” Solangi said. “This is a freshly dead animal and will reveal significantly more information than have previous animals.”