Three dead dolphins were found washed up on the shore near Fengbin Township in Hualian County yesterday, April 18, 2016. Coast Guard personnel brought the carcasses onto the beach and contacted the Taiwan Cetacean Society, who dissected the animals took samples back to their lab to attempt to identify the cause of the deaths.
Reporters asked whether recent earthquake activity may be a contributing factor, but the marine biologists were not willing to speculate. Coast Guard personnel helped bury the remains after the samples were taken.
The dolphins were identified as Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus). The Chinese name is 花紋海豚 (huāwén hǎitún) , which translates as ‘decorated dolphin.’ The decorations refer to markings on the dolphins’ bodies, which are actually scars caused by social interaction. Kuroshio Ocean Education Foundation said that these dolphins are the most common species spotted in waters around Taiwan. They noted that plastic trash has been found in the stomachs of dead dolphins before, and urged people to be conscious about disposal of waste, so as not to allow plastic bags and other litter to pollute the ocean environment.