(FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute)
FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A rare deep-water dolphin stranded on a Florida beach and later euthanized had a stomach full of trash.
Biologists said they found two plastic bags and a shredded balloon during a necropsy of the young rough-toothed dolphin after it washed ashore in Fort Myers Beach earlier this week.
Animal experts said the rough-toothed dolphin was emaciated and in poor health. Florida Today reports such a young dolphin should have still been with its mother but somehow wound up far from her deep-water home. Biologists and bystanders worked to help the struggling animal, but wildlife officials decided to euthanize the dolphin on-site.
Scientists are still trying to find a cause of death but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the finding highlights the need to reduce single-use plastic and to not release balloons into the environment.