Published on April 8th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Massive Dolphin Die-off Along Coast Of Peru
During the past three months the coast of Peru has been the sight of an even that has for the most part stump scientists. Almost 3,000 dolphins have washed ashore dead, which makes this the largest marine mammal die-off that has ever been recorded.
While we have seen animal die-offs in recent years this type of event is exceedingly rare when it comes to the larger mammals like dolphins and scientists are struggling to try and figure out why it is happening. Part of the problem is the location of the die-off as marine studies isn’t a a big priority in countries like Peru which severly any scientific investigations.
One possible cause comes from Carlos Yaipén, founder of Peru’s Scientific Organization for the Conversation of Aquatic Animals and a veterinarian, who believes that the acoustic waves being created by nearby oil test or sonar sweeps is the cause of the die-off.
All of the 20 or so animals Yaipén has examined showed middle-ear hemorrhage and fracture of the ear’s periotic bone, lung lesions and bubbles in the blood. To him, that suggests that a major acoustic impact caused injury, but not immediate death. Most of the dolphins apparently were alive when they beached, or had died very recently. “The animal would become disoriented, would have intense pain, and would have to make a great effort to breathe,” he said of the injuries.
Scientific America has an excellent overview of what is happening on the coast of Peru, even if it isn’t the most reassuring of articles.