Mystery surrounds dolphin carcasses found on Penang beach

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One of two dolphin carcasses that washed up on a beach in Penang over the past week.

GEORGE TOWN: Residents have been left puzzled after two dolphin carcasses were washed ashore on a beach in Tanjung Bungah here within a week.

Sonya Shah said the first carcass was found on Dec 29, while the second was found two days ago.

While both dolphins have since been buried at the beach, Sonya, who lives nearby, expressed her disappointment with the way the situations were handled.

“My mother and I struggled to get help as we called several fisheries, marine rescue teams and wildlife sanctuaries based in Penang and each of them passed the job onto someone else.

“Every one of them gave us different phone numbers to call and their reason for not attending to the incident was that it was ‘not their job’. They even advised us to call SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals),” she said in a Facebook post, adding that it took several hours until a small group of people came to help.

dolphin1Sonya said she had expected the dolphins to be taken to laboratories to be examined so that their cause of death could be determined and future deaths could be prevented.

“Evidently, these deaths must have been unnatural and I am no marine biologist but I know that this could have been avoided. Whether they had been poisoned, gotten lost, suffocated, or caught a disease.

“We could have helped and it didn’t need to result in death. They are just as worthy of living as we are,” she said.

Sonya also lamented the actions of beachgoers who had a total disregard and lack of respect for the carcasses.

“People were actually throwing shingles, pebbles and shells at the carcass and when asked not to fiddle with the body, they responded with anger, hostility and impudence,” she said.

Meanwhile, activist Andrew Ng said they had contacted the Fisheries Department concerning the carcasses.

“I personally think that they didn’t do a thorough job. They just measured and buried the body.

“They didn’t determine the cause of death or take any samples from the dolphin for testing,” he told FMT.

Ng said he sent photographs of the carcasses to the Langkawi Dolphin Research Centre, which provided information on the species of the dolphins.

“The centre said that it is an Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin, a near threatened species under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list,” he added.

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One of two dolphin carcasses which washed up on a Penang beach over the past week.