'Natural causes' at fault for Peru dolphin deaths: officials

May 22, 2012
Experts measure a dead dolphin lying on a beach on the northern coast of Peru, close to Chiclayo, some 750 km north of Lima, in March 2012. Nearly 900 dolphins that washed up along Peru's northern coast since the start of the year died of natural causes, a top official said Tuesday, citing a government report that failed to convince environmental activists here.

Nearly 900 dolphins that washed up along Peru's northern coast since the start of the year died of natural causes, a top official said Tuesday, citing a government report that failed to convince environmental activists here.

"We have reached the conclusion that the deaths were from natural causes," said Gladys Trevino, Peru's Production Minister, speaking on local radio as she announced the results of a government investigation into the massive die-off.

Trevino said that a study by the government-run Institute of Peru's Ocean (IMARPE) ruled out other causes for the deaths, and determined that massive die-offs occur periodically in the dolphin world.

"It's not the first time that this has happened," she said, citing what she said were similar cases in New Zealand, Australia and other countries.

"There's no reason to hunt for a reason why this would not be the cause," she said of the government's explanation.

Trevino said that the government also had ruled out any effects of the oil production industry that is active in the area's waters, as well as infection by virus or bacteria.

Peruvian officials earlier had hypothesized that the dolphins, along with some 5,000 dead -- mostly -- died due to the effects of rising temperatures in Pacific waters.

Environment groups here remain unconvinced however, and said they were certain that the dolphin deaths were related to offshore oil exploration.

One , the Scientific Organization for the Conservation of , known by its Spanish acronym ORCA, has blamed the dolphin deaths on oil exploration in the area, noise from which is proving detrimental to the well-being of the mammals, it said.

A representative from ORCA said the group earlier this month tested 30 dead dolphins and found broken ears and damaged organs consistent with the victims suffering "the bends," also known as .

Explore further: Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peru says 5,000 birds, nearly 900 dolphins dead

May 09, 2012

The Peruvian government said Wednesday that 5,000 birds, mostly pelicans, and nearly 900 dolphins have died off the country's northern coast, possibly due to rising temperatures in Pacific waters.

Peru probes mystery pelican deaths

May 01, 2012

A team of ornithologists were investigating the mysterious death of nearly 600 sea birds found on the beaches of northern Peru, government officials said.

Thousands of birds found dead on Chile beaches

May 12, 2012

About 2,000 birds were found dead on beaches in central Chile, a natural history museum director said Friday, accusing fishermen of snagging them in their nets and letting them drown.

Recommended for you

Global wild tiger population to be counted by 2016

5 hours ago

Thirteen countries with wild tiger populations agreed Tuesday to take part in a global count to establish how many of the critically endangered animals are left and improve policies to protect them.

Scientists discover tropical tree microbiome in Panama

20 hours ago

Human skin and gut microbes influence processes from digestion to disease resistance. Despite the fact that tropical forests are the most biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems on the planet, more is known about ...

How are hybridized species affecting wildlife?

Sep 15, 2014

Researchers who transplanted combinations of wild, domesticated, and domesticated-wild hybridized populations of a fish species to new environments found that within 5 to 11 generations, selection could remove ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

fnnkybutt
not rated yet May 26, 2012
"There's no reason to hunt for a reason why this would not be the cause."

Yeah - nothing to see here, move along. :/