Mystery surrounds deaths of 877 dolphins washed ashore in Peru

By | April 23, 2012

Mystery surrounds deaths of 877 dolphins washed ashore in Peru

… Environmental authorities are investigating the deaths of more than 800 dolphins that have washed up on the northern coast of Peru this year.

The dolphins may have died from an outbreak of Morbillivirus or Brucella bacteria, said Peruvian Deputy Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria, according to Peru’s state-run Andina news agency. Speaking to CNN, he said he expects test results to be ready within the week.

“Right now, the most probable hypothesis is that it’s a virus outbreak,” he said.

Quijandria said Thursday that 877 dolphins have washed up in a 220-kilometer (137-mile) area from Punta Aguja to Lambayeque, in the north of the country.

More than 80% of those dolphins were found in an advanced state of decomposition, making it difficult to study their deaths, according to Andina.

Earlier last week, the Peruvian government put together a panel from different ministries to analyze a report by the Peruvian Sea Institute (IMARPE). Officials have been able to conclude that the dolphins’ deaths were not due to lack of food, interaction with fisheries, poisoning with pesticides, biotoxin poisoning or contamination by heavy metals.

“When you have something this large, my gut would tell me that there’s something traumatic that happened,” Sue Rocca, a marine biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, told CNN. She floated a number of number of possibilities as to what could have killed the animals, including acoustic trauma, but concluded that investigators just don’t know yet. …

via Mystery surrounds deaths of 877 dolphins washed ashore in Peru – CNN.com.

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