Twenty One Dolphins Died in Less Than Two Months

For an unknown reason, close to two dozen dolphins have washed up on the beaches of south Walton County.

An Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin was found dead on the shore of Choctawhatchee Bay Wednesday.

This makes twenty-one dolphins that have mysteriously died in the Choctawhatchee area since February of this year.

CJ McGrew of the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge says these dolphins are vital to the marine ecosystem.

"They help keep our fish population under control just like everything in the environment it all is a system and when one part of the system fails you'll have repercussions everywhere."

A crew from the Refuge’s stranding team took samples to find out why she died. McGrew says it’s all part of the effort to find out why they dolphin died, “What we do is take samples and we send them to Miami and they test them there and hopefully we'll get some results pretty soon and find out what's going on."

The Refuge rescues wild animals to help rehabilitate and then eventually releasing them. But at times like this they can only find out why the dolphins are dying.

McGrew admits she finds it a little frightening to see so many dolphins dying.

"Well you first have to love the animal to do something like this I love and greatly appreciate what they do for us and what they are, it's very scary to me, and it’s very scary."

Rosalie Dyson and other volunteers feel the need to do this in a sense to give back to the wildlife community. "I'm sad and it almost feels like we bring a sense of dignity when we can go there and take some of them for science and try to find out why they’re dying."

If you would like to donate or become a volunteer you can contact the wildlife refuge at (850) 650-1880.