On beaches in Peru well over 600 dead dolphins have been found by conservationists from an organization called BlueVoice.org. The head of this group was quoted in MSNBC as saying the deceased dolphin count is 615, but on the the Blue Voice blog, the number was said to be potentially much higher by a marine mammal rescue director in Peru. In fact the Blue Voice blog says the stranding could be the largest dolphin mortality event yet recorded.
“I was stunned to hear we’d counted over 200 dolphins. We hit a length of beach no more than 100 yards long in which we found ten dolphins of varying levels of decomposition. The numbers continued to mount. By the time the rising tide forced us off the beach the count had reached 615, counted over 135 kilometers,” said a Blue Voice employee who visited Peru.
It sounds like there could be many more. It isn’t clear yet exactly what caused the deaths. One speculation is sonic testing conducted by oil companies, because it is believed the very loud noises can cause internal bleeding in dolphins. (Sound travels faster in water, than in air.)
“We have been noting that the animals were suffering from acute decompression syndrome – that is to say, a violent death produced by an acoustic boom that disorients the animal and produces haemorrhages which cause the animal to end up dying on the beach,” said ORCA director Dr Carlos Yaipen. (Source: 3news) Another speculation is that a disease caused an epidemic.
In the United States an increase in deadly dolphin strandings in the Gulf has been tied to habitat damage due to the huge oil catastrophe, a situation which is ongoing because there is still some oil in the Gulf.
BlueVoice.org is an ocean conservation organization founded by Hardy Jones and Ted Danson. They have been working to help save marine mammals and protect habitats for about twelve years.
Image Credit: USGOV-NOAA, Public Domain
Note: the species pictured above is not the same as the species found on beaches in Peru.