The call came in over the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network hotline Thursday. A dolphin was on the beach just north of Jennette’s Pier, where Mike Remige with the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources picked up the phone.
“We basically just ran up the beach,” Remige said in a phone interview with McClatchy. The staff at the pier are trained as first responders for marine mammals on the beach, he explained, and are the first point of contact when someone finds a stranded whale or dolphin.
He said the network has had five stranding reports this week, including two dwarf sperm whales near Buxton, North Carolina and a possible dead whale Friday morning near Frisco. As of midday Friday, Remige said he was waiting on photographs to confirm what kind of whale beached bear Friscoe.
The winter, he said, is “prime stranding season” for mammals on the Outer Banks.
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Data on marine mammal strandings in North Carolina show the numbers of beached whales and dolphins increases starting in January each year and peaks in April, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network of the North Carolina Central Coast.
In a Facebook post, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources staff at Jennette’s Pier explained: “Staff members from Jennette’s Pier respond to a stranded female common dolphin Thursday morning near the Pier in Nags Head. After thoroughly evaluating the six-foot seven-inch long adult animal, it was determined that it had recently passed.”
The post continued, “As volunteer first responders for the OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network, staff members from Jennette’s Pier respond to calls all year long. In this case, helping out were ... Mike Preziotti, Meredith Fish and Mike Remige who worked together to record vital information such as length, photos and approximate weight. After a field necropsy, the animal will be buried on site.”
Remige said if someone finds a dolphin or whale stranded on the beach, do not try to push it back into the water. “It stranded for a reason,” he said. Trying to move it would add to the animal’s stress. “Let the experts handle it,” he said.
The OBX Marine Mammal Stranding Network hotline number is (252) 455-9654.