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The dolphins were beaten, hacked to death

Trinidad Express / It turns out that humans, not disease, killed the dolphins found on the beach in La Brea on Thursday. Necropsies done on the carcasses of the animals found that the juvenile had been beaten and the adult had been cut in half.

The two Spinner dolphins were found on the Carat Shed Beach, La Brea.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the adult animal had been cut in half and only the cranial (front) half was found on the site.

The juvenile and the remaining half of the adult animal were retrieved by the TTMMSN’s veterinary team, Dr. Carla Phillips (Clinician, Marine Mammal Medicine and Aquatic Animal Health), Dr. Rod Suepaul (Veterinary Pathologist) (both Lecturers at the University of the West Indies, School of Veterinary Medicine (UWI-SVM)), and Dr. Wade Seukeran (Private Veterinary Practitioner).

The carcasses were transported to the UWI-SVM where examinations were performed on Friday.

“Both animals were found to be in very good body condition and were both actively feeding at the time that they became distressed, as evidenced by the presence of feed in the oesophagus and stomach. Markings and indentations on the body of the adult animal were consistent with that of fishing nets” said the organisation. 

“The juvenile male dolphin had lesions consistent with severe blunt force trauma along the entire right side of the body. Both animals had haemorrhaged into the thoracic (chest) cavity. The juvenile animal had extensive pulmonary haemorrhage, especially in the right lung, again consistent with blunt force trauma to the right side of the body.

The adult animal had been cut in half just behind the dorsal fin. Abdominal organs were found to be crudely severed and removed. The sex of the animal therefore could not be determined”.

Necropsy findings strongly suggest that both animals perished as a result of human interaction, stated the TTMSN, which strongly encouraged to avoid interaction with marine mammals that may wash ashore.

“Desist from the practice of mutilating the animals and avoid consumption of the carcass as these animal often harbour harmful micro-organisms that can be transmitted to humans and can be detrimental to human health”.

The public was also reminded that marine mammals are protected and it is illegal to handle or be in possession of these animals (or parts thereof) without a permit.

Reports of strandings should be immediately made to the Wildlife Division (Trinidad: 662-5114, 645-4288; Tobago: 639-2570; 735-4369) and the TTMMSN (466-2709, 735-3530). It is best that the public await the assistance of trained personnel before trying to intervene.

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