SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A dolphin died after it was found washed up on the shore of El Capitan Beach Monday.
Officials from the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) said the dolphin died shortly after rescue volunteers picked up the animal.
The dolphin was identified as a common dolphin, a species that will often wash ashore when they are ready to die, according to CIMWI.
Sam Dover DVM with CIMWI said it is very normal for dolphins to die after washing ashore and there is very little that animal rescuers can do once the animal hits the beach as the animals will usually die as soon as they are picked up.
CIMWI is conducting a necropsy and said the animal was thin and had an empty stomach as well as swelling on the side of its brain. The exact cause of the swelling could be parasitic or traumatic according to Dover, but additional tests would be needed to confirm that.
Despite the best efforts of the beachgoers who called in the beached dolphin and tried to push it back out to sea, the dolphin was unlikely to survive with or without intervention.
Dover says that particular species of dolphin has strong numbers in the channel, ranging in the thousands.