Earlier this week I was able to see a deceased Pacific White-sided Dolphin that had stranded a few days earlier. Unfortunately they didn’t survive their injuries which were believed to be from an orca attack, despite the west coast marine mammal team attempting a refloat and reaclimating them to the water. They passed away and the decision was made by Parks to leave them as a part of the ecosystem and food web.
The level of detail in the markings and colouration on the dolphin was incredible. All the subtle shades and variations, especially on the dorsal fin can find you lost in their patterns and swirls. The nicks, scars and rake marks – some of them from same species social interactions, cover the body as well.
The small conical teeth, a classic indicator a dolphin vs a porpoise are not something you would often have an opportunity to see in such precise detail. All these things, while the circumstances leading up to the opportunity are tragic, lead to a greater appreciation of the species as a whole when you know the level of precise beauty covering every inch of their body.
It’s heartbreaking to see a dead animal but the opportunity to examine them in such close proximity is also a valuable one. I feel very thankful to have spent time with this beautiful individual.
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