Posts tagged ‘Peru’

Cause of 3,000 Dolphin Deaths in Peru Likely to Remain a Mystery

Since mid-January, an estimated 3,000 dolphins have been found dead along the shores of northern Peru, in what has become one of the largest marine mammal dolphin-perumortality events ever reported.

Thus far, no cause has been determined, although evidence of middle- and inner-ear damage, lung lesions and bubbles in the blood are consistent with acoustic impact and decompression syndrome, leading to speculation that oil exploration in the region may be to blame.

In a statement released earlier this month, BPZ Energy confirmed that it was conducting acoustical, seismic studies in the area, but that the dolphin deaths began more than 2 weeks before exploratory activity commenced.

In the majority of large marine mammal strandings, no definitive cause is found – in part, because multiple factors are frequently at work. Toxic pollutants, for example, might weaken an animal’s immune system, making it more vulnerable to bacterial or viral infection. Persistent organic pollutants that accumulate in organisms further down the food web also tend to become more concentrated in top predators such as dolphins.

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Hundreds of dead bottlenose dolphins on Peru’s beaches (video)

Hundreds of dead bottlenose dolphins have washed ashore on Peru’s northern coast over this month, leaving officials struggling for answers as to what killed the marine animals. At least 264 dead dolphins were found over a 70-mile stretch of sandy beach, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Edward Barriga, an official with Peru’s Oceanic Institute (IMARPE). “We have taken samples to determine the cause of death,” Barriga reportedly said from Lambayeque.xlarge

Vast quantities of dead anchovies had also been found in the region, located nearly 500 miles north of Lima, the Peruvian capital. The head of a group representing Lambayeque aquafarmers, Jorge Cabrejos, said the anchovies appear to have eaten contaminated plankton, which then sickened the dolphins that ate the small fish. However, the authorities have not yet ruled out the possibility of hunting killings, the BBC reported. Local residents quickly carved up some of the mammals for meat, ITN reported.

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