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Scientists investigate dolphin deaths on SC coast

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Dolphin deaths
Institute for Marine Mammal Studies veterinary technician Wendy Hatchett photographs a dead bottlenose dolphin that was found on Ono Island, Ala., and brought for examination to Gulfport, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. Researchers say that more than a dozen young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected along the Gulf Coast in the past two weeks -- about 10 times the normal number for the first two months of the year. Samples have been sent for testing to see whether the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a factor in their deaths. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

CHARLESTON - Scientists are investigating after eight bottlenose dolphins have washed up on the South Carolina coast during the past nine days.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the carcasses have been found on rivers and beaches in the Charleston area.

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Wayne McFee with the National Ocean Service's does necropsies on the dolphins. He says a dolphin that dies because of contamination or a virus can give an indication of conditions along the coast that could affect humans.

McFee says dolphins that have died offshore are being pushed onto the coast by winds. In an average year, about 40 dolphins and 10 whales are found stranded on South Carolina beaches.

 

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