The decomposed corpse of a young dolphin was found in the Navesink River yesterday, a federal wildlife official confirmed.
It was the second such finding in two weeks, and lent urgency to calls for what remains of a visiting dolphin pod to be shepherded downriver and out to sea before more die in the river.
“We need to agree on a plan to get these dolphins out of there,” Bob Schoelkopf, codirector of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, told the Associated Press. “It’s a shame two animals had to die to get us to this point.”
Schoelkopf told the Asbury Park Press the dolphin was found on the Middletown side of the river, opposite from the Fair Haven Yacht Works, where a dead juvenile dolphin was found September 24. It was later determined to have had pneumonia, though a cause of death has not yet been announced.
More from the Press:
A boater reported the latest dead dolphin, which was washed up on private property, to State Police marine officers on Wednesday afternoon, Schoelkopf said.
It was found almost directly across the river from where the first dead dolphin was found at the end of De Normandie Avenue in Fair Haven, according to Schoelkopf…
The marine police took a photo of the dolphin’s body discovered on Wednesday, and a stranding center volunteer was heading there to take more photos, Schoelkopf said.
“We’re trying to figure out how to move it,” he said. “The location it’s at, is not something we can just pull up with a car (to).”
It’s “like a mile from a road,” he said.
The stranding center plans to recover the dolphin’s body another juvenile, based on a photo this morning, he said.
The Middletown side of the river is lined with mansions, including the home of rock star Bon Jovi, who lives directly opposite the yacht works, and has no public access points from land.
“Like I said last time, I hope it’s the only one, but now we have two and I just have a feeling that the numbers are going to keep rising as the temperatures drop” and the food source is depleted, Schoelkopf said.
“We have contingency plans and we’re still working on intervention criteria,” said Teri Frady, a spokeswoman for the fisheries service. [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] officials believe that trying to capture or herd the dolphins poses a high risk of deaths, she has said.
NOAA officials have resisted pleas for removal of the animals, arguing that the effort itself could lead to multiple dolphin fatalities.
The pod, officially put at 16 members not long after it moved into the Navesink on July 7, appeared to be about half that size yesterday. A report that some of the dolphins had moved back into the Shrewsbury River two weeks ago remains unconfirmed.