A dolphin was seen in the Hudson River on Memorial Day. A forensic exam revealed that the animal had plastic bags in its stomach. / Submitted photo
The dolphin in the Hudson River last week likely starved to death because she had four plastic bags lodged in its stomach, a necropsy has found.
The forensic examination by a marine biologist with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation found extensive blockage of the female Risso’s dolphin’s stomach. The nonprofit, based on Long Island, took possession of the body May 30 after it was recovered by the Rockland County Sheriff’s Marine Unit. A boater had seen it floating in the river near Haverstraw.
The dolphin, which was about 10 feet long and weighed 600 pounds, was first seen on Memorial Day near Vincent Clark Park in Stony Point.
The exam, performed Monday, revealed the dolphin had four intact plastic bags in her stomach cavities.
The largest bag was 4 feet by 2 feet and was rolled into a large sphere, about 8 inches in diameter, the foundation said. The other three bags were found intact.
It’s not clear why the dolphin traveled up the Hudson.
Away from the ocean and with a blockage in its stomach, the dolphin was unable to eat its normal diet of squid, eventually leading to her death.
Pat Bauer, a patrol officer with the Rockland Sheriff’s Marine Unit, said a Riverhead official told him dolphins expel squid beaks through their mouths, but the dolphin was found with more than 100 in her stomach.