VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A dolphin that was found trapped in the icy waters of Wolfsnare Creek in Virginia Beach has been pronounced deceased.
Matt Klepeisz with the Virginia Aquarium said the dolphin was first reported stranded at 11 a.m. on Sunday. It appeared the mammal had become stuck on a sandbar near Bay Island.
Virginia Beach resident Paul Holley said attempts to rescue the dolphin were sadly not successful.
“We saw the dolphin on the sandbar and tried to get to it, but it was too late,” Holley said in a Facebook post. “Hopefully any others made it out of the bay safely.”
“After speaking with our Stranding Response Program Coordinator, and according to two callers, it appears that this animal is deceased,” Klepeisz said. “Due to current conditions, it is unsafe for our team to respond immediately, but we are actively planning for the next available safe response time.”
So far there have been no other reports of stranded or deceased dolphins in the area, but multiple cold stunned sea turtles have been reported by the North Carolina Aquarium in recent weeks.
Though dolphins are “warm blooded,” which allows them to regulate their body temperatures as water temperatures change, they tend to travel to warmer waters when it gets cold.
Klepeisz wasn’t able to give an exact cause of the dolphin’s death, but cold temperatures and the complexity of sandbars are known to cause high stress for dolphins. Echolocation signals used by dolphins can bounce off sandbars and confuse them, leaving them “swimming around without any real direction,” the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Kristen Patchett told the Boston Globe.