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8 dolphins die after washing ashore in Sea Isle City

Marine Mammal Stranding Center hopes to learn why dolphins washed ashore
Marine Mammal Stranding Center hopes to learn why dolphins washed ashore 01:59

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- All eight dolphins that washed ashore Tuesday in Sea Isle City have died, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

The eight dolphins washed up on the beach near 52nd Street and Pleasant Avenue in the Jersey Shore town around 11 a.m.

"It's very sad," Bob Woofe, of Sea Isle City, said.

Initially, six dolphins were found alive and two died.


But, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center said the six dolphins' conditions were rapidly deteriorating. The center said they made the decision to "humanely euthanize the dolphins to prevent further suffering, as returning them to the ocean would have only prolonged their inevitable death."

Tim Ramsey, who called 911, spotted the six that were still alive when they washed upon the shore.  

"Six big dolphins flapping around on the beach and I was kind of stunned for 30 seconds or so," Ramsey said. "And watched 'em for less than a minute, called the police."

About half a dozen officers and public works crews spent hours pouring buckets of seawater onto the dolphins to keep them alive while dozens of onlookers watched.

"They're working, but you get dolphins washed up on the beach, but that's a tough thing to see," Ken Miller said.

Investigation underway after 8 dolphins died in Sea Isle City 01:46

Many onlookers wondered why workers didn't put the dolphins back into the water right away. One worker said he was waiting for the vet to arrive.

"I know that there's been a lot of marine life that has washed up on shore and I think what would be best is to find the actual root cause," Nicole Ragucci, a Sea Isle City resident, said.

Ragucci says she saw 30 to 50 dolphins swimming in the ocean right before some washed upon the shore.

"To see them in their natural habitat seemingly having a wonderful time to now the whole family or the whole pod is here just really shocking," Ragucci said.

All eight dolphins were transported to the NJ State Lab for immediate necropsies. They hope to determine what caused the dolphins to get stranded. 

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center wrote in a Facebook post saying in part: "We share in the public's sorrow for these beautiful animals, and hope that the necropsies will help us understand the reason for their stranding."

UPDATE 3/21/23 at 3:20pm: The remaining six dolphins were assessed by our veterinarian and their conditions were rapidly...

Posted by Marine Mammal Stranding Center on Tuesday, March 21, 2023

CBS News Philadelphia got an exclusive look inside the New Jersey Animal Health Diagnostic Lab -- where they perform procedures, physical exams, and examine tissue samples under a microscope to see how the dolphins died.  

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