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Research On Stranded Dolphins Embarks At Utrecht University

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A dead common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) was found along the coast of Texel on Tuesday afternoon. An animal keeper from nature museum Ecomare found the animal, after which it was transported to the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine for further investigation. This common dolphin is a young adult male weighing 47 kilograms and 1.70 metres long. It is not the striped dolphin observed off the coast of Hoek van Holland last weekend.

Common dolphins prefer deep, tropical waters and are mostly found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean oceans. They usually live in groups of 10 to 500, yet there are times when they stray from a large group and temporarily live solitary. This need not play a role in the cause of death of this animal.

“The organs still seem fresh enough to do research on, which is because the animal was discovered quickly and could be transported here. Hopefully we will soon be able to find out what the cause of death of this animal was” says Linde van Schalkwijk external link, involved in the stranding research.

Fourteen strandings of common dolphins have been reported along the Dutch coast since 2003. The most recent stranding of a common dolphin on Texel was in 1981.

In the coming weeks, Utrecht University and Wageningen Marine Research will conduct research into the cause of death, health condition, diet and origin of the dolphin. The skeleton will be transferred to Ecomare.