Update – February 14
The cause of these deaths remains uncertain, but there have been reports that the dolphins may have been killed by the impact of oil exploration.
As reported in globalpost, Carlos Yaipen of ORCA, a non-governmental group that focuses on helping ocean creatures in the south Pacific, suggested the dolphins may have been killed by the impact of off-shore oil exploration and drilling in the region.
Since over 650 dolphins have washed up on the Gulf coast shores since the BP oil spill there, this explanation makes sense. And if the reason behind the dying dolphins in Peru is indeed toxicity in the ocean environment, it signifies a large issue that needs to be addressed.
At least 260 dead dolphins have washed up over the past week on a 66-mile stretch of coastline 500 miles north of Lima, Peru, but no one knows why.
Local fishermen have been doubly surprised, since these mammals are not usually seen in these seas.
You can click here to see a video of this tragic event, but be warned that some of the images are disturbing.
Officials are not sure how the mammals died, but they have not ruled out the possibility they may have been hunted. Another possible explanation is that the dolphins were poisoned by eating contaminated anchovies: numerous dead anchovies have also been found. The Peruvian Sea Institute has taken samples to study in a laboratory, to research this mystery.
Whatever the reason, the idea of so many beautiful dolphins lying dead on a beach is heartbreaking.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from The Globe And Mail