Southampton Town Trustee Bill Pell found a dead juvenile dolphin while walking his dogs, Sam and Belle, at the cut at Mecox in Water Mill on Saturday morning. Mr. Pell said the dolphin seemed to have been dead a couple of days by the time he discovered it at about 7:30 a.m.
According to Robert DiGiovanni, the director of the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, the dolphin was a male, common dolphin and appeared to be about 2 years old. He said it measured 138 centimeters, or about 4 feet 6 inches long.
The dolphin reportedly had something that looked like a puncture wound on its head, but Dr. DiGiovanni said people sometimes misinterpret such wounds as resulting from human interaction when they actually result from animals like birds scavenging a corpse.
Southampton Town Bay Constable Al Tuzzolo said the creature was “very small” and not very noticeable at the beach, where people were surfing Saturday morning, and that the Riverhead Foundation on Saturday picked it up to perform a necropsy. Dr. DiGiovanni said the necropsy is still on-going.
The most common dolphins to strand dead or alive on East End beaches are common and bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises, which are essentially a smaller dolphin. Striped dolphins are less common, turning up about once or twice a year. About 30 whales or dolphins wash up on the local coastline annually, Dr. DiGiovanni said.