BOSTON (WHDH) - It’s a disturbing sight, dead deer in the Boston Harbor.

Now biologists are trying to figure out what is killing them.

“I’ve been coming out here for over 60 years,” says William Knopf.

Knopf has never seen anything like it. When visiting Grape Island in the Boston Harbor last month, William and his wife, Maureen, found 12 dead deer.

“They were all over the beach, there – there – there and there and there, just all dead. They were rotting and the flies were doing their job,” says William. “It’s not normal.”

There’s another thing they say isn’t normal. The Knopfs have seen other deer drinking salt water from the bay.

“Their bodies were shaking and the head was in the water. We could walk up to them,” says Maureen.

They say the deer appeared dazed and confused.

“They just weren’t afraid of us; they weren’t running or anything,” says Maureen.

The couple called Fisheries and Wildlife, known as MassWildlife.

“It’s a complete mystery. We can’t know, we don’t know and there isn’t the ability to find out right now,” says Marion Larson, of MassWildlife.

Larson calls the situation “unusual and concerning.”

Larson says when biologists went to investigate, they not only found 12 dead deer on Grape Island, they also found five dead deer on the island next to it, Slate Island.

“Unfortunately, the carcasses of the deer were too badly decomposed,” says Larson.

Because of the decay, biologists weren’t able to take samples for testing, so they can’t determine what’s killing the deer.

“If we can get a sample from a fresher carcass to be blunt, that could be helpful. We do want people to give us a call if they see any kind of strange acting sick deer,” says Larson.

The Knopfs are hoping someone can figure out what’s happening to the deer, so the animals can be saved.

“It was so sad to see. It’s really on my mind, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m going, oh those dead deer, so sad,” says William.

Both islands, where the dead deer have been found, are within swimming distance of Hingham and Weymouth, so it’s possible the deer came from those areas. MassWildlife says if you see anything out of the ordinary in those areas, please call them right away.

MassWildlife’s number is 508-389-6300. They say you need to leave a message with name, contact phone and brief description of what was observed.

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