By Michael Mora and Gina Tomlinson
27 November 2018

BONITA BEACH, Florida (WINK News) – Steve Abbott and Jim Farrior hoped to interact with some of the dolphins when they set out to kayak near Bonita Beach.

“We rode side by side with one for a mile a couple years ago,” Abbott said, who lives in Fort Myers. “We have a real place in our hearts for what they are and what’s going on with them.”

A recent spike in dead dolphins washing up on shores in Lee and Collier County seem to be attributed to the lingering red tide: the suspected killer.

“Lot of fish and eels on the beach,” Jeff Wiseman said, from Bonita Springs, “never a dolphin.”

Crews picked up more than seven dead dolphins on Tuesday, one of which was not too far away from where Wiseman works on Bonita Beach.

“If a mammal that large can be killed,” Wiseman said, “there’s something going on in the water.” […]

A dead dolphin on Bonita Beach, Florida, 27 November 2018. Red tide is the suspected killer of 37 dolphins in the previous week. Photo: WINK News

Over the last week in Lee and Collier County, there have been 37 dead dolphins that have washed ashore, which has traditionally been a rare sight.

NOAA Marine Mammal Expert Blair Mase believes the food these dolphins consume may contribute to its deaths.

“They are either impacted by ingesting fish that have the toxin,” Mase said. “That’s how they’re impacted or by inhalation.”

Mase said if the bottle nose dolphins continue to die at the rate we’re seeing, it could hurt the population.

“It is quite concerning,” Mase said. “It’s hard to see an impact at this level, especially when we thought things were improving.” [more]

Red tide the suspected killer in a recent spike in dead dolphins

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