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Dolphin washes up on Bayside shoreline
by Tim Delaney
Aug 28, 2013 | 546 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tim Delaney photo
A bottlenose dolphin washed ashore Saturday north of the Bayside city pier. Port Aranasas' University of Texas Marine Science Institute research fellow Tony Amos measured and took information on the dolphin. Amos said there were no clues to the dolphin's cause of its death.
Tim Delaney photo A bottlenose dolphin washed ashore Saturday north of the Bayside city pier. Port Aranasas' University of Texas Marine Science Institute research fellow Tony Amos measured and took information on the dolphin. Amos said there were no clues to the dolphin's cause of its death.
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BAYSIDE – When Debbie Carter heard from a Bayside resident that a dolphin had washed up on the shoreline, she grabbed her husband David Mata and drove down to the Copano bay front and saw what she feared she’d see – a dead dolphin.

The dolphin had washed up sometime Saturday morning, Aug. 24.

She said she knew of other places in the region that had dolphins wash up, but she’d never heard it happening in Copano Bay, especially at Bayside.

“We felt sick. We’d never lived this close to the water,” Carter said.

“Is it pollution ... something that occurred in the water?” she asked.

“I hope it is not caused by mankind,” she added.

The couple tried calling several agencies with no luck on a Saturday morning, but they finally were successful in contacting Tony Amos, a research fellow at the University of Texas Marine Institute in Port Aransas.

Amos, who has written a column for the South Jetty newspaper in Port Aransas for 30 years, drove over to Bayside on Sunday, found the dolphin about 200 yards north of the Bayside fishing pier, laying on the shore.

He took measurements and tried to ascertain what killed the dolphin.

“The dolphin was a male and 262 centimeters long,” Amos said.

That’s a little more than eight-and-a-half feet long.

Amos guessed the weight of the animal to be around 400 pounds.

He said there was no indication of what killed the dolphin.

And no mention of the hundreds of dolphins dying off the eastern coast reported by NBC on Aug. 20 was made. Those dolphins and more were believed to be plagued by a killer virus.

“Some of his teeth were worn. Not a really old one but they had some wear,” he said.

Oddly, that same day, Amos said another dolphin had washed up dead at Ingleside. That one was a female and had shark bites on it, but those bites weren’t believed to be why the dolphin died.

Amos expressed surprise at the shark bites, saying dolphins don’t stray from their group, so it was strange that the Ingleside dolphin had shark bites.

Amos said in the Port Aransas region, which ranges from Rockport to Corpus Christi, has about 30 animal deaths a year.

“The Port A region goes all the way down to Copano Bay,” he said.

He said the last dolphin reported death was back in July.

But the occurrence in Copano Bay is unusual, according to residents.

Because the dolphin was badly decomposed, Amos said it was too late for an autopsy. The dolphin may have died out in the bay and then washed up onshore.

And the dolphin at Bayside was in an awkward place: on the shoreline below a short seawall so moving it presented a challenge.

Bayside Mayor Ken Dahl said he contacted Amos, who told him that the Texas Parks in Wildlife in Rockport would send an air boat over and drag the dolphin to an island where it could decompose naturally.

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