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More Dead Dolphins Continue To Wash Up On Gulf Coast Shores

By Rhonda Miller | Published 15 Mar 2011 05:26pm | comments

Five more dolphins have washed up on the Gulf Coast in the last four days. MPB's Rhonda Miller reports that researchers continue to investigate the cause of the unusually large number of dolphin deaths.

At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, it's common to have reports of two or three dead dolphins in a month. But 57 dolphins have washed up on Mississippi and Alabama beaches since the beginning of 2011.

Director of the institute Moby Solangi says researchers are naturally looking at the possible impact of the April 2010 Gulf Oil spill.

"Well, it's certainly a factor," Solangi said. "These animals were conceived in March, April and May 2010. The gestation period is 12 months, so they would be delivering in March, April and May of this year."

Solangi says there is an important clue.

"We didn't see any turtles die, birds die, or any other animal die during this particular period," he said.

Location is another important clue.

"We didn't see this issue, at least in February, in Florida or Louisiana," Solangi said.

The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine the cause of the deaths. Researchers are looking at factors including other environmental issues or infectious disease.



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