Marine Mammel Stranding Center Update on Dead Whales and Dolphins

Marine Mammel Stranding Center updates- Wednesday March 1, 2023
We are sharing a single update on multiple situations that our team is navigating today for the sake of efficiency and transparency. To say that it has been an extremely busy and taxing few weeks for our team is an understatement, and today has been no exception. Please understand that our small team has been out in the field responding to both live and deceased animal calls, so social media updates come when we have the time. For this, reason we also suggest sending any media requests and/or questions not covered in this update to rather than via Messenger. Please read this post through the end if you want to know the information we currently have available.
Whale floating off Seaside Park, NJ- At 11:04am this morning we received a call for a whale carcass approximately ½ mile off Seaside Park. Through drone footage the carcass was identified as a Humpback whale. It is unknown at this time if this is the same whale carcass that was spotted floating in the Ambrose Channel earlier this week. The US Coast Guard has provided a drift analysis. The Marine Mammal Stranding Center and NOAA are monitoring the situation, and coordinating the response for when the carcass comes ashore. We will provide an update once we have more information.
Avalon, NJ dolphin necropsy- Today the Marine Mammal Stranding Center with the assistance of our stranding network partners from the MERR Institute of Delaware completed the necropsy of the dolphin that stranded on Monday night at 50th Street in Avalon. The necropsy team included two veterinarians. The adult male Offshore Bottlenose dolphin weighed approximately 300lbs and was 8 feet in length. Initial necropsy results indicate severe pneumonia with necrosis of the lungs, and no food was found in the stomach. Tissue samples were collected and submitted for pathology. Please note that final necropsy results can take several months to be returned.
Thank you to the Brigantine Fire Department for helping our team move this large dolphin yesterday and this morning. Thank you to the city of Brigantine for allowing our team to perform the necropsy of this dolphin from Avalon on the beach today, as we were not able to find a lab to submit the carcass.
Typically, dolphin and other small cetacean carcasses are submitted directly to a large animal laboratory experienced with marine mammals for necropsy. However, due to increased demand for large animal necropsies (farm animals as well as marine mammals) the laboratories in New Jersey and surrounding states are currently not able to accommodate submissions of more carcasses for necropsies. Any new small cetacean carcasses will need to be stored (frozen) until the labs are open for submission, and the space available to us has already been filled. If you are a local business with commercial freezer space that can assist in the storage of carcasses, please call our office 609-266-0538.
Updates on previous necropsies- As of today, MMSC has NOT received FINAL necropsy results for any of the samples submitted for pathology. In fact, we are still waiting for pathology results from animals that stranded last summer. We have been transparent with the information we know from the preliminary necropsy results, however we are at the mercy of the time it takes for final pathology results to be completed.
In addition to the surge of cetacean strandings, our team is also currently caring for five sick and injured seals in our hospital. As is typical for this time of year, we continue to receive calls for seals from throughout New Jersey. This week’s most notable stranding thus far was the Grey seal pup that crossed Rt.35 in Mantoloking, which was updated in an earlier post today. Today’s calls include a healthy grey seal that one of our Stranding volunteers have been monitoring throughout the day.
If you made it this far down the post, THANK YOU for reading it! We want to thank the community for the support you have shown our small team during these challenging times, and to our amazing volunteers who continue to be the backbone of our work.


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