Dead Dolphins

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Last week the dead bodies of dolphins started washing ashore along the panhandle. Today the total almost comes to 50.

Ron Hardy, the owner of Gulf World, is the on-site coordinator for the dolphin investigation.

"Today, here on Port St. Joe Island, we've had seven dolphins come ashore dead. And we're fixing to take samples and get those off to the lab."

Biologists at St. Joseph Peninsula Park say the sheer number of dolphin deaths encourages them to determine the cause as soon as possible.

Martha Pridgon is taking samples from the animals. She says the dolphins found today most likely died last week but just made it to shore.

"The dolphins we're seeing now are a lot more decomposed, they've obviously been dead for several days. Last week we were getting dolphins that were very fresh."

The biologists say all of the dolphins were in good nutrition, and they say it most likely is an isolated area that hit all the dolphins very quickly.

"We've had people say they saw live dolphins playing out in the bay which is a good sign, means they're not all sick and they're not all dying."

They just want to know if it's contagious, although Anne Harvey the park manager says it's safe to go in the water.

"You can play in the water. Typically, if it turns blooms, they don't affect people swimming in the waters."

And making sure the dolphins will continue to swim in the waters is something everyone involved hopes to find out this week.

Park officials are warning visitors about toxic algae that could be in the bay, and while it's ok to swim, you should avoid eating any fish caught in the bay until test results come back.