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Dolphins Dead Off Peru Coast, Cause Remains Mystery

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Published on Apr 23, 2012

Transcript by Newsy: http://www.youtube.com/user/NewsyHub?...

BY GINA COOK
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS

Hundreds of dolphins have been found dead on the north coast of Peru in the last few weeks. But nobody knows why they died. HLN explains.


"They were found in a 130 mile area in Peru. Environmental officials say they have not found a reason why the animals died. They ruled out poisoning and starvation. They're testing to see if the dolphins were infected with a virus."


A video from conservationist group Blue Voice shows a marine mammal rescue team studying one of the dolphins. The team explained the catastrophe appears ongoing because there are carcasses dating from January to now.

According to Peru this Week, officials still believe a virus is the most likely cause.


"It seems Peruvian authorities are closer to finding the cause of the death ... an official at country's Ministry of Environment, said the dolphins were most likely killed by the morbillivirus -- a type of highly infectious virus..."


But environmentalists believe a Houston-based oil company, BPZ, could be at fault for the deaths. BPZ recently used sound waves off northern Peru for oil exploration. A writer for Ecology explains.

"...evidence of middle- and inner-ear damage, lung lesions and bubbles in the blood are consistent with acoustic impact ... leading to speculation that oil exploration in the region may be to blame. ... 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."


Most of the dolphins found were in an advanced state of decomposition — making studying them much more difficult. A blogger for Huffington Post says one of the largest marine mammal mortality events ever reported may remain a mystery.


"...there is a strong possibility that the cause of the event may never be known. What is known is that catastrophic die-offs of dolphins and other marine mammals are occurring with greater frequency and virulence around the world. They are an indication that the oceans are in deep, deep trouble; perhaps greater trouble than we have imagined."

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