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Gulf oil spill: Dead dolphin recovered

May 29, 2010 |  7:27 pm

Deaddolphin

As thunderstorm clouds formed on the horizon Saturday, biologists Mandy Tumlin and Clint Edds searched the waters of Barataria Pass for a dead dolphin reported to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. It didn’t take long before they spotted the dolphin on its side floating near the east side of the pass.

“It’s the freshest one we’ve seen,” Tumlin said as she called back to base. They could tell it hadn't been dead for long because its tail was still flexible in the waves and it was not bloated. It was a male, about 6 feet long.

Tumlin and Edds suited up in white contamination jumpsuits, with rubber gloves and boots, before pulling the body close to the boat. They tied a rope around its tail fin and began slowly towing it to shore. But the trip was interrupted when the storm caught up with them. Sheets of rain came down and they were forced to pull into the U.S. Coast Guard station on Grand Isle, where President Obama had visited a day earlier. 

Pictures of the president showed dolphins swimming in the background as he held a news conference at the Coast Guard station.

Although the exterior of the dolphin did not show signs of oil, it will be taken to a New Orleans aquatic research center for testing.

--Carolyn Cole

Photo: A scientist grabs a dead dolphin found in Barataria Pass. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

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