On June 19th, our team was alerted to a dead dolphin in Botany Bay from SC DNR sea turtle team. This animal appeared to be an adult bottlenose dolphin but had severe scavenger damage. Majority of the animal's ventrum (bottom) was scavenged away and it was missing it's fluke. The scavenging marks are indicative of shark bites, which more than likely occurred after the animal had died. While it is sad this animal died, it's always important to remember the circle of life and dolphin and whale carcasses provide food and nutrients to many other organisms.
Collecting basic information and samples from this animal was still important, however severe thunderstorms prevented our team from getting out to it. Sea turtle technician, Joey Bauer, graciously offered to collect samples for us during their next patrol the following day. We were able to get a total length, a skin sample for DNA testing, and teeth for aging analysis. We are extremely grateful for the help of our friends with sea turtle patrol! They are often patrolling the beaches first thing in the morning and not only report any deceased dolphin or whale they find, but are great in helping collect samples for us as well.
If you find a sick, injured, or dead marine mammal, you can call us at our Stranding Hotline number (843) 410 - 7990.