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15 bottlenose dolphins found dead in Sarasota County in past 15 days

Posted: 6:13 PM, Aug 22, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-22 22:49:59Z

VENICE, Fla. — More Marine Lab says that 15 bottlenose dolphins have been found dead in Sarasota County in the past 15 days.

  • Dolphin #1: Found dead on August 7 on a Gulf of Mexico beach in Venice, Florida. 
  • Dolphin #2: Found dead on August 7 on a Gulf of Mexico beach in Venice, Florida.
  • Dolphin #3: Found dead on August 8 in the Intracoastal Waterway near Snake Island in Venice.
  • Dolphin #4: Found dead on August 8 off Caspersen Beach.
  • Dolphin #5: Found dead on August 8 along North Casey Key Road in Nokomis.
  • Dolphin #6: Found dead on August 8, was reported floating off mid-Casey Key.
  • Dolphin #7: Found dead on August 9 on Siesta Key.
  • Dolphin #8: Found dead on August 9 on Siesta Key.
  • Dolphin #9: Found dead on August 9 on Casey Key.
  • Dolphin #10: Found dead on August 12.
  • Dolphin #11: Found dead on August 12.
  • Dolphin #12: Found dead on August 13 on Caspersen Beach. Mote says that this dolphin was a neonate (newborn or unborn fetus).
  • Dolphin #13: Found dead on August 21 near Manasota Key. Mote says this dolphin was a calf.
  • Dolphin #14: Found dead on August 22 on Anna Maria Island. Mote says this dolphin was reported just before dark the night before and was quite decomposed.
  • Dolphin #15: Found dead on August 22 in Venice, recovered and transported to Mote by the Venice Police Department.

According to Mote, nine of the deceased dolphins were males, six were females.

Related:  11 bottlenose dolphins found dead in Sarasota County

“I have never come across something like this ever,” Master Police Officer, Paul Joyce, with the Venice Police Marine Patrol Unit said.

Officer Joyce suspects red tide is the cause of the high number of deaths. He said he does not normally respond to these type of calls.

“Red tide, unfortunately, is a very slow….very slow death. They’re basically suffocating,” Officer Joyce said.

Mote staff have been conducting will conduct necropsies on all 15 dolphins at Mote's main campus on City Island, Sarasota, to investigate what happened to them. 

"All 15 were found moderately to severely decomposed, complicating our efforts to examine and collect samples for analyses, but we are dedicated to learning all we can and sharing that knowledge for the benefit of dolphin populations," Mote said in a press release on Wednesday.