The Asbury Park Press is reporting that dolphins have been spotted in the Shrewsbury River in recent days, giving rise to speculation that the remaining pod of visiting bottlenose dolphins may be trying to make it back to the open sea.
Teri Frady, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration‘s Fisheries Service, tells the Press she received a call on Saturday morning from a citizen who reported seeing one dolphin in the Shrewsbury River.
And Bob Schoelkopf of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine tells the newspaper that five dolphins were spotted last night just north of McLoones Rumrunner in Sea Bright, where they were frequent visitors early last summer.
“We have no reports today at all where they are,” he said this afternoon.
If substantiated, the sightings would be the first official confirmation of redbankgreen‘s Sept. 26 report that some of the 16 dolphins that took up residence in the Navesink River on July 7 had moved back into the Shrewsbury River, where they spent three weeks early in the summer.
In recent weeks, the pod has dwindled to an estimated seven members. Two, both juveniles, have been found dead, believed to have been killed by peumonia. Officials said on Friday they didn’t know where the rest of the pod went.
Last week, NOAA marine experts began working up a plan to either lure or drive the remaining animals out to sea.