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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | NEWPORT / COSTA
MESA / IRVINE: NEWPORT BEACH

Tropical Dolphin to Undergo Necropsy

April 01, 1998|JOHN CANALIS

After washing ashore near 23rd Street this week, the carcass of a striped dolphin--typically a tropical creature--will undergo an necropsy at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The 163-pound mammal was taken to the museum's marine lab Monday afternoon. Scientists would not speculate on the cause of death but said the dolphin was far from home.

The creatures tend to swim in waters south of Mexico's Baja Peninsula and scientists said the dolphin likely swam north with El Nino currents.

"It's definitely due to the influence of warm water we're having," said biologist David Janiger, a curatorial assistant at the museum specializing in mammals. "We're getting a lot of weird things, especially in your area, Orange County."

A beaked whale, also rare in the area, was found on the shore in Newport Beach on Feb. 18, Janiger said. In June, a striped dolphin washed ashore in Seal Beach.

The latest dolphin was discovered midmorning Monday near a beach popular with surfers. Lifeguards and animal control officers responded to the call.

Beached sea mammals, particularly sea lion pups and gray whales, are not uncommon sightings in Orange County, said Newport Fire and Marine Lt. John Blauer. "I'd say, probably, in Newport each year we get some larger or more unusual animals."

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