A carcass of a dolphin that had been eaten by multiple sharks was found Wednesday morning on the beach in Longport, officials said.
Robert Schoelkopf, director of the Brigantine-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center, said it’s likely the bottle nose dolphin was already dead when it was attacked, although too little of the body remained to tell definitively.
“Usually, we’ll see an animal with one or two shark bites, where the sharks just taste it,” he said. “This was more than a taste — this was consumption.”
The head was the only part of the more than 8-foot-long dolphin that remained, Schoelkopf said, as the rest had been eaten down to the bone. Based on the condition of the head, he said it appeared the animal had only been decomposing for a few days.
This summer has been a particularly active one for shark sightings, he said. Sharks have been spotted in Brigantine and Ocean City, while a dramatic video was taken last month of a feeding frenzy off Island Beach State Park in Ocean County. Click here to see a Youtube video of the feeding frenzy.
“It’s interesting to see the activity of sharks so close to shore this year,” he said. “I’d assume it’s because the food is so close to shore, and sharks and dolphins like that will go wherever the food is.”
Schoelkopf said the dolphin discovered Wednesday is not the renowned Dolphin 56, which went missing last year after visiting the Jersey Shore every year for decades. The Longport dolphin didn’t have Dolphin 56’s fractured jaw.
Longport authorities will dispose of the dolphin, he said, since there were too few remains to perform a necropsy.
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