Scientists say they are investigating the mysterious deaths of 877 dolphins washed ashore in Peru this year. More than 80% of those dolphins were found in an advanced state of decomposition, making it difficult to study their deaths.
The porpoises and dolphin carcasses have washed up in a 220-kilometer (137-mile) area from Punta Aguja to Lambayeque, in the north of the country. Marine experts say the most likely cause is some sort of virus, but environmentalists claim sound waves from seismic oil exploration are to blame. The head of a local fisherman’s association said that he estimated more than 3,000 dolphins had died so far this year, based on what he saw in the water and on beaches.
The dolphin deaths in Peru are mark the third set of high-profile strandings in about two months. In February, 179 dolphins –108 of which were dead — washed ashore in Cape Cod, in eastern United States. Marine biologists are still trying to determine the cause of those deaths. In early March, amateur video taken from a beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, showed more than 30 dolphins on shore. In that instance, all dolphins were safely returned to the sea.
In the fourth such incident in the past month, an eight-ft-long dead dolphin was washed ashore at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai on the west coast of India. A humpback whale was found dead at Diveagar coast in Raigad last week. This came after two whales of the same species were found beached at Uran and off Priyadarshini Park, Napean Sea Road, on March 29 and March 31.
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