NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - A dead dolphin washed up near the Ocean View Fishing Pier in Norfolk Friday, making the total of dolphin strandings from New Jersey to Virginia more than 120 since July.
Scientists are still trying to figure out what's killing them off. They’re calling this an "unusual mortality event." But, while there's still no official word on a cause, people are wondering if it's possibly something in the water that could affect them, too.
"Normally they swim up and down the shore, but all of a sudden we started seeing them all up and down the beach," said Richard Adams.
Adams says the dolphin sightings have become an all too common spectacle on the sand. And other people spending time at the beach Friday agreed.
"It's just amazing to find this many dolphins washing up on the beach," said Dennis Mcquitty.
Kevin Huck's daughter was one of the first people to spot the latest dolphin to wash ashore.
"My daughter wanted to take a walk down the pier and out of the corner of my eye I see one flipper of the dolphin sticking up," said Huck.
Their deaths at seven times the normal rate are still a mystery to all. Some experts say the cause could possibly be disease, others say possibly polluted water. But many are hoping whatever's going on is isolated to the dolphin population and wondering if that's possible while humans share the same water on the beach every day.
"I think they need to test the water more if they're going to bring in these species," said Christine Simon.
Scientists say it could take weeks before their investigation is complete. At least one dolphin has tested positive for the Morbillivirus. The illness killed 740 dolphins along the East Coast in 1987.
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