Mystery of mass dolphin deaths in Peru
Maritime scientists in Peru are trying to solve a mystery that has turned stretches of the country's beaches into a grim dolphin morgue.
Officials in Lima said last week that 877 carcasses have washed up, an unprecedented number, along 100 miles of the Piura and Lambayeque coast. Nearly all are bottle-nosed dolphins, many in an advanced state of decomposition.
A possible explanation for the mass fatalities is underwater sound waves set off by explosions during oil exploration. But Peru's Deputy Environment Minister, Gabriel Quijandria, said he thought a powerful virus was the more likely cause. "So far, it's the most probable hypothesis, and it isn't the first time it's happened. There have been cases in Peru, in Mexico, the United States," he said. More should be known by the end of this week, when it is hoped the first results of testing on the remains will be released.
Suggestions that seismic shock waves are responsible will sound alarm bells among environmentalists. Last week, Carlos Yaipen-Llanos, who leads Orca, the international animal welfare organisation that focuses on whales and dolphins, said that some of the dolphins have broken bones in their ears and collapsed organs, which would be consistent with sound-wave damage.
Exploration in the area has been carried by a Houston-based oil company, BPZ, which uses underwater explosions to test for evidence of oil reserves. Mr Yaipen-Llanos says that some of the dolphins had bubbles and blood in their sinuses, which could indicate rapid ascent in panic, resulting in the bends.
However, Mr Quijandria noted that the carcasses began washing up in January, before recent rounds of seismic tests.
Global warming ‘will make our winters colder’
Here are the top 10 trees nominated for 'tree of the year'
Humanity's 'inexorable' population growth is so rapid that even a global catastrophe would not stop it
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Number of global billionaires has doubled since the financial crisis
- 3 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 4 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
- 5 North Korean officials 'publicly executed for watching South Korean soap operas'
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
Nigel Farage and Frankie Boyle clash over Andrew Lawrence's 'Mock the Week' criticism
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teachers needed in King's Ly...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary Teacher needed in the Ely ar...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Randstad Education Leicester ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 Teacher needed in Peterborough a...