close
close

Stranded dolphins are showing up on Texas beaches: what you need to know

play

Dolphins washing up on Texas beaches are becoming increasingly common.

These mammals are more likely to be stranded on the Gulf Coast. According to Chron, more than a dozen dolphins have been spotted stranded since January.

Why does this happen? Here’s what we know.

What is a stranded marine animal?

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, marine mammals are considered “stranded” if they are found dead, either on the beach or floating in the water, or alive on the beach and unable to return to the water. In Texas, the most common strandings are bottlenose dolphins found dead or alive on shore.

Is this a common phenomenon?

There is a season for standard animals. According to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Texas experiences a spike in animal strandings between December and April. According to the Chron, there have been eighteen dolphin strandings on the Texas coast.

Why do dolphins strand?

According to the Fish and Wildlife Foundation, there are approximately 2,000 strandings worldwide each year, most of which result in the death of the animal.

Some of these strandings occur due to illness, injury, bad weather, old age, navigation errors and hunting too close to shore.

Some man-made mistakes can include noise pollution, injury from ships, debris, or getting caught in fishing gear.

What can people do to help?

If you see an injured or stranded marine mammal, do not try to push it back into the water. Many animals become stranded because they are sick or injured, requiring trained rescuers to intervene.

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network recommends calling experts at 1-800-962-6625.