VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Officials are trying to learn why a dolphin may have stranded itself on a beach in Virginia.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that a necropsy is scheduled for Monday. Members of the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team said they had to euthanize the dolphin after it washed up in Virginia Beach on Sunday.

Program coordinator Alexander Costidis said the dolphin had rapid and shallow breathing and an irregular heart rate. Its eyes also weren’t tracking activity properly.

Costidis said the animal had skin lesions, suggesting an active poxvirus and some level of immune system compromise. The rough surf conditions likely pushed the dolphin to shore.

Returning the dolphin to the ocean was not considered a humane alternative. Drowning or shark attacks were probable outcomes.

Information from: The Virginian-Pilot,

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