HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center's Stranding Response Team confirms five more dead bottlenose dolphins were discovered on local beaches Thursday.
Dolphins washed up on shores in four Hampton Roads counties: one in Ocean View, one in Mathews County, two in Gloucester County and one in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore.
"We are a little bit concerned about it. It's definitely at a much higher level than we're used to seeing at this time of year," said Mark Swingle with the Virginia Aquarium on Wednesday after a third deceased dolphin was found in Oceanview in one week.
The number of bottlenose dolphin deaths along the Chesapeake Bay is alarmingly high for this time of year.
"We have, as of this morning, about 82 dolphin strandings for the year, and typically we average in a whole year about 64 dolphin strandings. So, it's definitely elevated," Swingle said Wednesday.
On Thursday, that total raised to 87. And 49 of those dolphin strandings happened in the last five weeks. The aquarium said the average for the month of July is seven.
The aquarium said its Stranding Team has received help from experts in North Carolina as well as from members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with dolphin necropsies. They are also analyzing tissue from the dolphins to look for viruses and biotoxins.
Most of the recent dolphin strandings are exclusively male, according to the aquarium.
If you see a stranded animal on the beach, do not touch it. Instead, call the stranding hotline anytime of day or night: (757) 385-7575.
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