ROCKAWAY BEACH — A dead and apparently badly-mangled dolphin washed up in Rockaway Beach Wednesday morning, and marine biologists are investigating the incident.
The dolphin was discovered on Beach 115th Street in Rockaway Park after the beach opened at 10 a.m., according to a witness who asked not to be identified.
It was found with a rope tied around it and appeared to be badly mangled, the witness said.
A Parks Department spokesperson said the incident is under investigation.
Rob DiGiovanni, the executive director and senior biologist for the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation said the animal appears to be a bottlenose dolphin, and biologists were en route to perform a necropsy.
"We’ve seen an increase in the number of bottlenose dolphins washing up" in New York, he said.
As many as 21 of the creatures have washed up along Long Island beaches this year, most of them dead.
This year, biologists have seen the most dead dolphins washing up in the area since 2007, when nine bottlenose dolphins washed up dead along the shores, he said.
It was not clear what accounted for the increase in beached dolphins.
Another dolphin was spotted swimming in the East River near Astoria in March.
And in June, the Riverhead Foundation rescued a 9-foot adult female Risso’s dolphin found struggling in the waters off of Oak Beach on Long Island.
The dolphin, named Roxanne, is currently being treated at the center’s headquarters.