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.
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.
The results of a histopathological analysis — which would indicate possible contamination by a virus — are expected to be ready in the coming days.
The dolphin deaths in Peru are just the latest in a worldwide trend.