A young dolphin that washed ashore in Hermosa Beach early in the evening on Thursday died in the middle of the night, possibly from domoic acid poisoning.
Los Angeles County lifeguards were able to help get the dolphin off the sand and contacted Peter Wallerstein, president of Marine Animal Rescue, who took the sea creature to the Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro.
“We did our best,” he said.
Wallerstein and a vet stayed with the dolphin until midnight, when it succumbed to what Wallerstein suspects may be an emerging case of domoic acid poisoning, a neuro toxin from eating fish that affects whales, dolphins and sea lions and causes them to have seizures. He said the dolphin was a juvenile, only one or two years old.
“They are really distressed,” he said. “It’s really hard on them.”
Another clue that there may be another outbreak are the large number of sea lion rescues this year at 260, he said. A necropcy will be performed on the dolphin.
The last outbreak was in 2017, and about three or four years before that, said Wallerstein, who has been rescuing sea creatures in the South Bay for 35 years.
In a social media post about the dolphin stranding, lifeguards advised beachgoers to keep a safe distance and get assistance from safety personnel.
The dolphin is the latest in a sea of strandings happening along California’s coastline. Last Sunday, a thresher shark in Long Beach washed up on shore and the following day was found dead — possibly by a brain-eating bacteria.