Rare warm-water dolphin stranded on beach near Tofino dies despite rescue attempt


WATCH: A Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and Parks Canada team attempts to save a long-beaked common dolphin. Credit: Ocean Wise. 

A dolphin rarely seen in B.C. waters died Thursday morning after what rescuers are calling an “unusual” stranding at a beach near Tofino.

The Vancouver Aquarium said Friday that a team from its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre and Parks Canada were unable to save what is believed to be a long-beaked common dolphin.

Parks employees at Pacific Rim National Park first tried to refloat the beached adult male dolphin on Thursday so it could swim away, but that was unsuccessful. They then held it in shallow waters until members of the rescue centre arrived.

The dolphin was in critical condition and stopped breathing shortly after the team began transporting it back to the rescue centre in Vancouver. There will be a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Long-beaked common dolphins ( Delphinus capensis) typically live in tropical and sub-tropical regions. They have a range that includes parts of the western and southern regions of Africa, much of western South America, central California to central Mexico, coastal Peru and areas around Japan, Korea and Taiwan. There have been rare sightings in waters off B.C. and Washington state, which is at the very northern edge of their range.

“Models are predicting that species will be moving further north as ocean temperatures rise. So what was once considered very rare could well become quite common,” Andrew Trites, from the University of British Columbia’s Marine Mammal Research Unit said in a release. “In science and government, we’ll have to understand that the status quo is a thing of the past and adapt to seeing new species.”



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