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Dolphin stranding in St Thomas 'very rare, unfortunate' — NEPA

Thursday, November 08, 2018

ST THOMAS, Jamaica — National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) says it finds the report of another stranded dolphin along the White Sand Beach in Holland Bay, St Thomas, yesterday “very rare and unfortunate”.

NEPA, in a release today, said a team from its Veterinary Services Division as well as the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) responded to the report, which revealed that the animal had already died. Arrangements were subsequently made to dispose of its remains.

The agency noted that the incident is the second of its kind in three days, as a similar incident involving three dolphins occurred on Monday in the same vicinity. Upon arrival that day, the response team discovered that two of the animals had already died.

“Several unsuccessful attempts were made to re-float the animal that was still alive. Veterinary professionals on location finally determined that continued attempts to re-float the animal would be futile. The animal was subsequently euthanized,” NEPA disclosed.

Monique Curtis, Manager, Ecosystems Management Branch of NEPA said: “A stranding of this nature along the island's coastline is very rare and unfortunate. We acknowledge the collaborative effort and speedy response from relevant agencies and stakeholders within the area particularly Mr Everal Davis, who reported the incident, and the Golden Grove Sugar Factory, which provided assistance.”

She indicated that the next steps include further surveillance of the area for other strandings and investigations into the possible cause of the incidents.

NEPA shared that the species identified on the beach has been confirmed to be the pygmy killer whale (Feresa attenuata), which is a small member of the oceanic dolphin family, who prefer deeper areas of warmer tropical and subtropical waters.

UTech lecturer Christine O'Sullivan, who assisted the team, explained that, “In order to properly respond to strandings we need to establish a marine mammal stranding network across the island in order to provide the animals with the best care possible. It is also important to try and determine what may be affecting the animals and find solutions to address this.”

NEPA is reminding the public to immediately contact the agency at 1-888-991-5005 or 876-754-7540 to report the sighting of a sick, injured, entangled, stranded, or dead marine animals so that responders can take appropriate action.