Dead dolphin washes up on Tumon Bay - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Dead dolphin washes up on Tumon Bay

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - It was back in June a 35-foot sperm whale washed up dead along Turtle Cove in Yona. And this morning, another unusual sighting along the beach.

It was just after seven this morning, Department Of Agriculture biologist Brent Tibbatts got the call. "We found a dead dolphin," he explained. "We haven't been able to determine the species yet. It's a little over 10-feet long. Estimated three to four hundred pounds on the beach near the Reef Hotel. The dolphin was first found by one of the staff members of one of the vendors down there around 2am. In fact, they pushed it out into the water and it washed back up on the shore again around 6 and that's when we were notified about that time."

Tibbatts' initial assessment of the dolphin show the corpse was already beginning the decomposing process evident by the body's bloat, foul smell, and internal organs coming out of its mouth. But what caused the animal's death?

Tibbatts says there were no obvious wounds, only cuts from coral.

After taking pictures and measurements to be sent to NOAA Hawaii, Tibbatts says another, and hopefully final attempt was made to push the dead dolphin into the ocean, dragging it out over the reef and releasing it with the outgoing tide.

He reports residents shouldn't be alarmed as the island has averaged one and half marine mammal strandings per year for the last 20 years.

It was just last week NOAA officials provided trainings for recreational vendors and the public on proper dolphin watching etiquette specific to spinner dolphins as they play an important role in the island's tourism industry. But Tibbatts doesn't suspect today's dolphin was a spinner. "I don't think this is a spinner dolphin - it's much larger than spinner dolphins it's much bulkier than spinner dolphins," he said. "It could be another type, it could be a spotted dolphin a bottle nose dolphin something like that it was kind of damaged when it washed over the reef to come in."

Meanwhile, Tibbatts tells KUAM the remains of the whale that washed up on our shores earlier this year washed away late-July, but not before 18 teeth and 13 bones were extracted, some to be sent to Hawaii and others to remain on island for display at the Guam Museum opening up in Hagatna.

Should the public encounter another marine mammal that washes ashore, Tibbatts advises they stay away and avoid touching the animal as it could potentially pass off disease to humans.

If you see something unusual along the beach, call GPD or the Department of Agriculture.

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