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Rare dolphin washes up on B.C. beach

Courtesy: Vancouver Aquarium

Courtesy: Vancouver Aquarium

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Thursday, February 25, 2016, 12:14 PM - Researchers are investigating after an 11-foot-long rare species of dolphin washed up on the shores of Graham Island in Haida Gwaii.

The carcass was discovered by two local residents Saturday evening. The female mammal has been identified as a Risso's dolphin. They are grey, stocky and can grow up to four metres long. Their snouts are rounded with no noticeable beak.

While the species can be found in both temperate and tropical waters worldwide, the mammal is rarely spotted in Canada.

RELATED: Strange sea creature with fur and a beak washes up on beach

Researchers from the Vancouver Aquarium, the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network and the Department of Fisheries conducted a necropsy on the dolphin Monday and was unable to identify a cause of death.

"Marine mammals act as sentinels for our oceans," Caitlin Birdsall of the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network told CBC. "Not only does a necropsy and sample collection help us understand the individual health, but it also provides information about the health of the marine environment."

Blubber, organ and fluid samples have been collected for further testing. After the skeleton is cleaned, it will be later displayed at a local site.

While it's uncommon to see these dolphins, sightings have been reported in the past on the coast of Haida Gwaii and the west coast of Vancouver Island.


Related: Surfers thought they were dolphins but they were wrong

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