A half-eaten dolphin washed up on a beach in North Wildwood over the weekend.
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Karissa Kerns, 44, of Northeast Philadelphia, told NBC10 she was visiting the 4th Street Beach Saturday with her mother and 4-year-old son around 9:45 a.m. when they noticed a fisherman reeling something in.
"I thought it was a sea turtle at first," Kerns said.
As they walked towards it however they realized what it was, a dolphin that appeared to be half eaten.
"The lifeguard flipped it over and you could see a shark had grabbed it and chomped right out of it," Kerns said. "You could see the teeth marks and everything. It's spine was completely severed. It wasn't a full-sized dolphin and it wasn't a baby dolphin, it was mid-sized. At that point my mom took my son away quick because he was freaked out about it."
Kerns took a photo of the dolphin as lifeguards began to move the body.
"One girl grabbed it and she carried it where the trashcans are near a sand dune," Kerns said. "We left about 45 minutes after. When I was walking out of there it was gone."
A member of the North Wildwood Beach Patrol told NBC10 they haven't determined how the dolphin died but believe it was bitten by "something big." Officials with the Beach Patrol later confirmed the lifeguards disposed of the carcass.
Bob Schoelkopf, the founding director of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey, told NBC10 the dolphin was likely bitten by a sand tiger shark -- described as a relatively placid and slow-moving shark with no confirmed human fatalities.
"The animal likely died and then was eaten," they wrote. "Reports that it was an adult dolphin are wrong. Dead floating animals are very likely to have shark bites. Live healthy animals usually stay well away from sharks."
A spokesperson for the North Wildwood Beach Patrol stated that going forward all lifeguards will immediately report similar incidents to the proper authorities.