Dolphin deaths under investigation

GALVESTON, Texas - Researchers are trying to figure out why more than 100 dead dolphins have washed up on shore on the Texas coast.

"Basically, we've been seeing higher than average numbers of bottle-nosed dolphins washing ashore," said Heidi Whitehead, Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network state operations coordinator.

Around 123 dolphins stranded on the Texas coast, most of them in Galveston, washed up onshore dead from November 2011 to March 2012.

"These animals washing ashore are important to us," said Whitehead. "They tell us about our ocean health and what we may be dealing with in the future."

Researchers are now investigating why this happened. They are performing necropsies, which are autopsies on animals. Hopefully, when those results come back next month, they'll know what killed the dolphins and what that could mean for you and your family.

Researchers think the deaths could have been caused by high levels of algae, red tide or even from the BP oil spill.

"As far as the BP oil spill, we won't know the affects for years to come," said Whitehead. "We're not ruling anything out, whether it's human-induced or naturally occurring."

Anyone who comes across a dolphin washed ashore, dead or alive, is asked to contact the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network immediately at 1-800-9MAMMAL.

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