Dolphin strandings in Peru elude explanation
Nearly three months after dolphins began beaching themselves on Peru’s northern coast in droves, officials still don’t know what caused the massive die-off, and some experts say the deaths may remain a mystery.
Although early reports indicated as many as 2,800 common dolphins (Delphinus capensis) and Burmeister’s porpoises (Phocoena spinipinnis) beached on the coast of the Piura and Lambayeque regions, the official count as of mid-April was 877, according to Vice Minister of Fisheries Patricia Majluf. “We know very little,” Majluf says. “Unfortunately, this type of event is occurring more frequently around the world. No one knows if it’s a consequence of climate change, pollution” or other factors.
The strandings have coincided with dolphin beachings in the United States along the Louisiana coast and on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, although a spokesperson for the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration called the events unrelated.