Dolphin strandings in Virginia, Maryland rise

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJLA) - Bottlenose dolphins are dying and washing ashore in Maryland and Virginia at an alarming rate - especially in the Virginia section of the Chesapeake Bay.

At least 100 dolphin corpses have already been discovered - far more than the annual average of 65 - with 47 being found in July alone.

“For the month of July in Virginia, we saw 47 dolphin strandings and in August already we've seen 17,” says Maggie Mooney-Sues of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s marine fisheries administration.

Mooney-Seus says another 15 have washed up in Maryland. If you include New Jersey, the death toll reaches 90. Last year in July, there were nine.

Dr. Brent Whitaker of the National Aquarium, where eight dolphins live, says one of the problems for scientists is that many of the dolphins are so decayed that necropsies have failed to show a cause of death.

“Obviously, we want to understand better what’s causing it,” Whitaker says. “We don't know if we can influence it change it or not but we hope we can.”