There is no evidence to conclude that the dolphin carcass beached on Pantai Tanjung Gelam on Saturday is the same dolphin rescued by seven Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) students two days before, said an expert from the university.
UMT Faculty of Fisheries and Food Sciences senior lecturer Mohd Fazrul Hisam Abd Aziz said a conclusion can only be confirmed with an autopsy and DNA tests.
“The students did not take any measurement of the carcass. How can it be said to be the same animal? Only through DNA testing can we determine if both dolphins were from the same species.
“An autopsy should be performed and the death should be confirmed based on facts to ensure that the carcass is the same marine mammal rescued,” he told Bernama in Kuala Terengganu today.
Last Thursday, UMT marine biology students rescued a dolphin found stranded on Pantai Tanjung Gelam.
Upon discovery, there was a cut on its head but the mammal eventually managed to swim back to the ocean.
However, two days later a carcass of a dolphin was found at the same location but no autopsy was performed because the internal organs had decayed.
Commenting further, Mohd Fazrul said his statement might sound harsh but in the field of research, any conclusion must be based on facts.
“The sustainability of fisheries resource requires comprehensive scientific facts and research. This is important so that all stakeholders can find one similarity point in conserving the resource."
Prior to this, he had used an echolocation technology to track the presence of fish in UMT's coastal waters and found 12 schools of dolphin with at least six dolphins in one group there.
“Dolphins detect its food using sound. During the monsoon season, ‘upwelling’ is also occurring where food (benthic organisms) at the base of the sea will rise to the water surface. This will attract juvenile fish and other marine life that rely on this organism for food,” he said.
Mohd Fazrul said the waves during monsoon season could reach between four to six meters high. Various injuries could happen to marine life especially if they are close to the wave breaker rocks near UMT.
He believed stranded marine mammals should be followed up with investigations because injuries can come from many causes, whether exterior such as being hit by the fan of a boat or interior such as a tumour.