LETTER: Thanks to Town Staff for a Job Well Done

October 11, 2013


As the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Unusual Mortality Event (UME) Investigation continues, close to 700 strandings have been collected so far. The tentative cause of the UME is being attributed to cetacean morbillivirus, based upon preliminary diagnostic testing and discussion with disease experts. Of 93 dolphins tested to date, 84 were confirmed positive or suspect positive for morbillivirus.

These studies involve several NOAA laboratories and science centers, stranding network members, non-profit research organizations, and academic partners, yet it is important to note that the important data needed would not have been collected without local boots-on-the-ground members of coastal communities like ours. Here is the rest of the story:

We are lucky enough to have a Town Manager and Public Works staff that has been very effective in the handling of dolphin strandings here in Cape Charles. There have been several strandings in and around our harbor, with two dolphins actually landing on our beaches. In both cases, Town Manager Heather Arcos instructed Pete Leontieff of our public works staff to secure the dolphins as best as possible (there’s no handout or standard operating procedure for this) and then contact the Virginia Aquarium. After the technicians were able to conduct the testing and gather the data, Pete and his crew disposed of the dolphins according the specifications supplied by the Aquarium staff. [Read more…]

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