Scientists from Peru’s Ocean Institute (IMARPE) think they’ve discovered the cause of the mass dolphin deaths along the northern coast of Peru: poisonous algae.
Hundreds of dolphins have washed up on different beaches in the region and, according to reports, tissue samples taken by scientists from some of the dolphins have revealed that the animals had ingested a substance that had caused their internal organs to degenerate.
Though it’s hard to know exactly what the animals could have consumed in order to produce this kind of biological reaction, scientists think that naturally-occurring toxins in certain algae could be to blame. Poisonous compounds in the algae could have been activated by changes in temperature or pollution and further tests will need to be carried out.
Meanwhile, dead marine mammals continue to be washed ashore. In Lambayeque, 79.9 % of all specimens found so far are different species of dolphin.