Robert DiGiovanni, executive director and senior biologist with the Riverhead Foundation, tells us his staff is currently preparing to transport the animal back to foundation headquarters, so that researchers can conduct a full necropsy to determine its cause of death. He said the dolphin appears to be somewhat decomposed, making it that much more difficult to ascertain what killed it.
One thing DiGiovanni does know, however, is that there are more dead dolphins washing up on shores around New York than there have been in decades prior. "In the last decade, we've gone from around 20 washing up to having 30 or 40 washing up," he said, never mind the excess of marine life struggling to survive in such fetid channels as the Gowanus Canal and East River.
"Are we seeing more because more are sick, or more because there are simply more in the area?" he asked. "These are really good questions."
They're also questions that the Riverhead Foundation might not be able to answer anytime soon. The organization relies heavily on donations, and right now, its rescue program is operating on a deficit of $200,000 annually—and studying dolphin populations ain't cheap. "There are dramatic things going on that we really should be looking at," he said. So we may not be able to fund research to determine why the beaches are suddenly littered with dead animals, but hey! At least the parachute jump has pretty lights now!