Scientists say government red tape is keeping them from trying to figure out why more dolphins are migrating to where they don’t belong and dying because of it. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies said this year there has been an increase in dolphins migrating into rivers and bayous, places where these salt water animals can’t survive.
IMMS officials said of the 31 dolphins found dead on the Mississippi Coast so far this year, six showed signs of freshwater damage. Meanwhile, another six of seven have been spotted swimming in freshwater. Scientists said they don’t know why these animals are heading into dangerous territory, but they suspect something major has happened in their natural habitat.
A viewer sent WLOX News video after seeing the unusual sight of a dolphin swimming in the Tchoutacabouffa River.
“This year, we’ve had a very serious problem with dolphins being found in fresh water. We’re seeing them in Back Bay,” said Moby Solangi, IMMS Director. “We’re seeing them in Tchoutacabouffa. We’re seeing them in bayous like Davis Bayou.”
IMMS officials said the increase of dolphins in freshwater is alarming, because dolphins can only survive outside of saltwater for a short while before they start to develop skin lesions.