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Dolphin Found in Hudson River Starved to Death, Researchers Say

By Mathew Katz | July 6, 2012 9:40am
A dolphin was discovered dead in the Hudson River Thursday, June 21, 2012.
A dolphin was discovered dead in the Hudson River Thursday, June 21, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

MANHATTAN — A dolphin found floating in the Hudson River last month starved to death, marine researchers said Thursday after conducting a necropsy on the animal's body.

"We basically found an emaciated dolphin with no signs of food — so the animal had not been eating," said Kim Durham, a biologist with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation.

"Just an extremely emaciated animal, with not enough food to survive — if it had been eating at all."

The dolphin was found floating next to Chelsea Piers on June 21.

There wasn't any indication of trauma or extensive disease, Durham said, just a few parasites that were not out of the ordinary.

Manhattanites first spotted a dolphin swimming around the Hudson River, from Harlem to Chelsea, a few days before the dead animal was found at Pier 59.

The Riverhead Foundation could not confirm if it was the same animal due to the corpse's degradation, but said it was likely due to the rarity of dolphins swimming in the river, especially on their own.

The dolphin was kept on ice for the past few weeks until researchers had the time to perform the necropsy.

According to a specialist who recovered the 150-pound corpse, the Hudson River typically doesn't offer enough food for a dolphin, though sometimes their food sources bloom in the summer when the river's water heats up.