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Dolphin spotted in East Rockaway last month dies

A dolphin was seen in East Rockaway on

A dolphin was seen in East Rockaway on July 28. Credit: NY Marine Rescue Center

A dolphin that was spotted in East Rockaway’s Mill River last month has been found dead, a marine rescue center announced Sunday.

The cause of death for the dolphin, which had an energetic and social personality, is not yet known and an autopsy is pending, the Riverhead nonprofit NY Marine Rescue Center said.

“The staff is extremely upset about this turn of events and will share the necropsy results when they become available,” the group wrote on Facebook.

The 5-foot-long, short-beaked dolphin was spotted in the Mill River in late July and did not appear to be under stress, the center said at the time.

Dolphins are known to follow food, so it’s possible that’s how this one ended up swimming through the East Rockaway Channel and into the river, spokeswoman Maxine Montello said.

The center said it had hoped the dolphin would go back to sea on its own, especially as a full moon was expected to bring higher tides. The center waited to intervene based on expert recommendations and the dolphin’s active behavior and location in a curving river.  

Rescuers planned a herding operation to bring the animal closer to open water on Thursday in an effort to reduce its stress, the center said. A shallow river is not a dolphin's normal habitat.

But rescuers could not find the dolphin after hours of searching from a vessel and the riverbank.

The center said it was notified Saturday that the dolphin had been found dead in the Far Rockaway area and was recovered by the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. Samples have been sent to pathologists, who could help uncover the dolphin’s history and cause of death.

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