A decomposing dolphin carcass with rope wrapped around its tail on the beach in Cayucos caused concern among some beachgoers.
However The Marine Mammal Center spokeswoman Laura Sherr said the dolphin wasn’t entangled in the rope.
The thick rope was likely placed on the dolphin carcass by a person who was perhaps trying to move the dead animal, said Mike Harris, senior environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Beachcombers, a beach survey program, places biodegradable twine on deceased marine mammals to mark them. It had placed twine on the dolphin before somebody tied the other rope onto the animal as well, Harris said.
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The Marine Mammal Center went out to assess the animal and estimated it was a bottlenose dolphin and about 10 1/2 feet long.
It was in too far a state of decomposition to perform a necropsy, which is how cause of death is determined, Sherr said. She added that carcasses do occasionally wash up on beaches, depending on the current. The carcass has been left on the beach to decompose.