Baby dolphin washes up

17:00, Sep 22 2010
DOLPHIN
DOLPHIN DEATH: Watching over the baby dolphin on Orewa beach are Ben Sintes of Orewa and German visitor Gislinde Heuer of Bremen.

A dead baby dolphin brought tears to the eyes of many passersby at Orewa beach on Tuesday.

An autopsy at Massey University Albany will help determine the cause of death. The common dolphin is believed to be a one-year-old male. It was seen with two adults off Orewa on Monday evening. The juvenile was found dead the next morning just north of the Orewa Surf Club.

Beach walker Ben Sintes of Orewa contacted authorities following concerns dogs, seagulls or people might damage or remove the 1.1 metre dolphin. He is pleased people walking their dogs ensured they were well under control and says many were in tears after seeing the dead baby. He says the dolphins may have come close to shore because of storms or chasing pilchards.

German visitor Gislinde Heuer stopped to check the dolphin, saying it's the first she's seen.

Kaumatua Ringi Brown of Ngati Manuhiri said a prayer over the dolphin before it was removed and named it Orewa after the beach.

It's common at peak breeding time for young dolphins to wash up after they become separated during storms or die of natural causes, Massey marine biologist and species specialist Dr Karen Stockin says.

Anyone finding beached dolphins or whales should contact the Conservation Department on 0800-362-468.

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