Crews Cleanup Beached Dolphins at Boca Chica Beach
NEAR BROWNSVILLE – Workers with Cameron County spent Wednesday morning burying three beached dolphin carcasses found on Boca Chica Beach.
Shelby Bessette, a program manager with the School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Science at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS it’s a natural occurrence and part of stranding season.
“We’ll probably see a few more, I expect,” Bessette said. “Our stranding season is typically between January and March.”
Stranding season is when animals go through a tough winter, causing many of the old, sick, young and weak or child-bearing mothers not to survive. With wind and currents, they wash ashore during this time.
Jack and Cathy Spayd were enjoying the sand at Boca Chica Beach Wednesday with their small dog. They said the word of the beached mammals was alarming.
“I mean he’s rarely off the lead anyways, unless there's absolutely no one around but yeah. It makes more likely to keep him on,” explained Cathy.
A smart move, because the dolphin carcasses can carry disease.
“You should not touch these animals or let your pets near them because they are mammals. And we are mammals as well as our pets and disease can get transferred that way,” said Bessette.
If you see a dolphin stranded, you should call the coastal lab or the Marine Stranding Network.
“If you see one and it’s dead, and it’s marked with red paint, then that means we’ve made the report and you do not need to call. If it’s not marked, then it has not been reported,” explained Bessette. “Of course if it’s a live one, we go into rescue mode.”
For the Spayds, they say the dead dolphins are sad, but won’t keep them from enjoying the sand.
“I don’t think it would change our pattern,” said Cathy. “Just that we have to be more vigilant with the dog.”