On Wednesday, a rarely-seen striped dolphin was found dead on the shores of a beach in Mossel Bay.
According to Tersia Marais, spokesperson for the Stranded Marine Animal Rescue Team, the adult female dolphin was discovered on Diaz Beach. The dolphin carcass will be transported to Bayworld in Port Elizabeth, where an autopsy will be conducted.
Striped dolphins are normal found in warmer waters, and can live up to 60 years. They are also a deep sea species, so it is very rare to find one stranded ashore.
They gather in huge pods of up to 500, and are hardly ever seen along the coastline. Marais adds that the water of Diaz Beach is too cold for striped dolphins.
This is the third striped dolphin to be stranded ashore in the southern Cape since 2006.
By adulthood striped dolphins can grow to 2.4 metres (females) or 2.6 metres (males) and weigh 150 kilograms (female) or 160 kilograms (male). Research suggest that sexual maturity is reached at 12 years of age in Meditterranean females, and in the Pacific at between 7 and 9 years.
The striped dolphin is also as capable as any dolphin at performing acrobatics – frequently breaching and jumping far above the surface of the water as high as seven meters.