Shark-killed dolphin in Galicia amazes experts

by Lorraine Williamson
dead dolphin

PROVINCIA DE PONTEVEDRA – A dead dolphin appeared on Saturday just off the coast of the Rías Baixas in Galicia. The animal showed clear signs of being bitten. Experts initially thought of orcas, which have recently been causing unrest in the area. 

However, that option is now ruled out. Because, according to the experts, orcas eat fish and not other marine mammals. The dolphin had been bitten in the lower part of its body, below the mouth. 

See also: Now also sharks spotted on the beaches of Galicia 

This is clarified by the coordinator from the Cemma research centre for marine mammals. His department pays special attention to the presence of orcas off the Galician coast. In an “exceptional case, an orca could bite a dolphin. But that is very unlikely,” said one of the researchers in Faro de Vigo. 

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After careful examination of the photos, they conclude that “the bites may have been caused by sharks, but only after the dolphin was already dead”. 

They think of blue sharks, which are especially common at this time of the year, also in the estuaries. “When blue sharks do bite, they tend to bite the jaws and genital area, as they would have done,” the researcher said. 

“These are small, circular bites that sharks leave behind, as can be seen in the images,” Cemma said. It is not the first time that dolphins have been bitten by sharks on the Galician coast. Faro de Vigo, for example, wrote in 2019 about an attacked dolphin off the coast of Rias Baixas that may have been attacked by sharks. When people from an expedition ship brought the dolphin aboard to find out what had happened, they saw that it had been attacked by a shark. 

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