Fourteen common dolphins washed up along Addo Elephant National Parks’ Woody Cape beach earlier this month.
The Park’s marine rangers were alerted to the stranding by a group of Nelson Mandela University zoology students doing surveys on the beach, about 31km from the Sundays River Mouth towards Woody Cape.
A team of rangers were immediately dispatched to the scene to investigate further. Upon arrival, they were informed that the students had determined that four were still alive and managed to return them safely back to the sea. Unfortunately, eight adults, one juvenile and one calf were not as lucky.
Bayworld staff members from Port Elizabeth were informed, who went out on Wednesday and yesterday to perform post-mortems on the carcasses. Due to the condition of the dolphins, they suspect that the mass stranding occurred sometime on Monday 2 April. From their initial observation, they say they could not see any signs of obvious illness or injury.
In March last year, 38 dolphin carcasses were found washed up along the Sundays River coastline, more or less 10km from the latest occurrence. This was the sixth reported stranding on the same stretch of beach over the past 40 years. The reasons for the strandings are not known.
Both Bayworld and SANParks staff or on alert should further animals wash ashore.
Anyone who finds a marine mammal along the coast is urged to contact Bayworld’s emergency stranding line on 071 724 2122.