(NEW YORK) — A dolphin carcass — likely chewed-up by a shark — washed up on a New Jersey beach last weekend, officials said.
About half of a bottlenose dolphin came ashore on North Wildwood Beach in New Jersey Saturday morning, according to the City of North Wildwood.
The dolphin had a large curved bite mark and was missing much of its body. It was likely dead before a shark apparently bit the animal, according to Bob Schoelkopf, founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.
“It was obviously a shark, but it’s not uncommon to see when you have a newborn dolphin like that,” Schoelkopf told ABC News on Thursday.
“The sharks are out there to clean up the ocean so to speak,” he added.
One beachgoer, Karissa Kerns, told ABC News on Thursday that the dolphin had a “clean bite straight through, severing his spine,” when she discovered it with her 4-year-old son Saturday morning.
The next day, Hunter Treschl, 16, lost his arm in a shark attack in Oak Island, North Carolina, and Kiersten Yow, 12, was bitten in the arm and leg a little more than an hour before Hunter.
The North Wildwood Beach Patrol disposed of the carcass soon after beachgoers discovered it to keep children showing up to the beach from seeing it, Kerns said.
“Ideally, the lifeguards would’ve contacted us so we could’ve examined the dolphin and determined what type of shark bit it, but that did not happen,” Schoelkopf said.
The city announced that lifeguards will be trained on how to notify the correct authorities in the future to avoid this problem going forward.
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