Dead dolphin washes ashore far north of normal range

LONG BEACH, Wash. - A dead 7-foot male striped dolphin washed ashore Monday night, the Seaside Aquarium said.

Keith Chandler and Jason Hussa from the aquarium retrieved the dead dolphin from the surf for Dr. Debbie Duffield with the northern Oregon/southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Hussa's son Toby helped, too.

Duffield planned to perform a necropsy on the dolphin in an attempt to determine why it died.

This is at least the third striped dolphin to wash ashore along the Northwest coast in the last decade. In January 2006, a striped dolphin washed ashore at Fort Stevens State Park.

The dolphins are uncommon here. Striped dolphins prefer warmer waters and are typically found in the offshore waters off of California and Baja, the aquarium said.

In June, a 'semicomatose' sea turtle - also a creature that prefers warm water - washed up on the Oregon Coast.

The dolphin's death does provide an opportunity to learn more about the animals. The Seaside Aquarium shared photographs of the dolphin.

The dolphin's sharp teeth are used for snatching up small fish such as herring or cod. Squid make up a large part of their diet.

Striped dolphins live alone or in small schools.