NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The City of North Myrtle Beach's beach patrol found a dead dolphin on the beach near 17th Avenue Thursday, a city official confirmed.
The beach patrol notified the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Coastal Carolina University. The city's sanitation division collected the dolphin and kept it on ice until a professor with CCU's marine sciences division arrived to collect it for a necropsy, according to city spokesman Pat Dowling.
A dead newborn baby dolphin was found on Litchfield Beach in Georgetown County earlier this week by a group conducting an inventory of sea turtle nests in the area. There is no indication that these two deaths are related.
Dr. McFee with the National Marine Fisheries Service out of Ft. Johnson in Charleston said that South Carolina experiences about 50 strandings of marine mammals every year, with about 80 percent of those being bottlenose dolphins.
If a beachgoer sees any live animal on the beach, it should not be pushed back into the water, Dr. McFee said.
"Those animals are sick and dying and wouldn't be on the beach if they were healthy so pushing them back does nothing but expose them to predation by sharks and cause them to strand somewhere else, making it difficult for trained responders to properly assess the animal," Dr. McFee said.
The hotline to call if you see a stranded marine mammal is 800-922-5431.