ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – David Gunter was on his daily walk in North Shore Park on Sunday morning when he found something he said he was never prepared for.
Gunter said he found a dead dolphin washed up on Vinoy Beach. He took a picture of the animal and said the tears started to flow.
“I just said a prayer and shed several tears,” Gunter said. “Everyone was very solemn. It was just very hurtful.
Now he wants to know if the red tide played a role in the death of the dolphins.
8 On Your Side contacted Florida Fish and Wildlife, who said they were working to find out.
FWC tells 8 On Your Side that the dolphin carcass is currently at FWC’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab in southern St. Petersburg.
No one from FWC was available to speak on camera, but they sent us this statement:
At around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday June 27, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received a report of a dolphin stranded on the beaches near Beach Dr. NE and 11th Ave. NE in St. Petersburg. An FWC biologist attended the scene and retrieved the deceased dolphin for examination. At this time, we cannot provide the cause of death of the dolphin.
Florida Fish and Wildlife
They said these tests were still ongoing to determine the cause of death.
According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the red tide can affect the central nervous system of fish and other vertebrates, such as dolphins, manatees and birds, causing disease and death in animals.
Gunter said if the red tide was to blame, more taxpayer money would have to flow into the water and save marine life.
“It’s heartbreaking, it’s just heartbreaking,” Gunter said of the situation as he continued to point the finger at the water. “I mean it’s beautiful. It’s a gift. Those animals over there, it’s a gift.
Dead marine mammals can be reported directly to the FWC Dispatch at 888-404-3922, ext # 7.