Striped dolphin

A mature striped dolphin — a common offshore species — died and was washed ashore Jan. 3. Its unusually fresh condition will provide scientists with valuable insights into how well it lived lived in an ocean that is undergoing widespread changes in temperature and chemistry.

PENINSULA — A 6.8-foot male striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) washed ashore on the Long Beach Peninsula around 11:30 a.m. Jan. 3.

“There was no indication that the dolphin washed ashore alive but it must have died shortly before washing in,” the Seaside Aquarium said. “While sad, we can learn a lot from such a fresh and well preserved animal.”

The dolphin was recovered by staff from the Seaside Aquarium and was taken up to Portland State University where it has been frozen until it can be necropsied. This will provide researchers with an indication of how the dolphin died and the ocean conditions it lived in.

Striped dolphins are among the most abundant and widespread dolphins in the world and are quite common in the offshore waters along the West Coast. They can be found in groups of 25 to 100 individuals but every once in a while will gather in the thousands. In the U.S. they are not considered endangered or threatened — but like all marine mammals, they are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“Judging by this dolphin’s size this guy was probably between 6 and 15 years old,” the aquarium said. Their longevity is reported to be up to 58 years.

The Seaside Aquarium responds to all dead and live marine mammal strandings from the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula to Tillamook Bay, Oregon. They have been partnering with Portland State University in the Southern Washington/Northern Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network since 1991.

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