A marine animal team attempted to rescue a pregnant harbor porpoise stranded on the shore of Dorchester Bay Wednesday night during the second of two recent nor’easters, but the animal died before the team arrived.
The New England Aquarium said in a statement that a necropsy revealed the porpoise’s liver and other organs had been compromised by an unusually high number of parasites. That condition combined with an advanced pregnancy and rough waters during the storm killed the animal. The porpoise washed up on the shore near Harbor Point housing complex.
Harbor porpoises, the smallest dolphin species found in New England, usually measure 4.5 feet to 6 feet and weigh less than 200 pounds. They are commonly found in Boston Harbor from mid-winter to mid-spring swimming in the waters from South Boston to Hull and Winthrop to East Boston, according to the aquarium.
Because of their dark gray coloring, they can be hard to spot in the water.
“Harbor porpoises are very difficult to see for the average person, but they are there,” the aquarium said.Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.