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Why Are Dead Dolphins Washing Up On Italy's Coasts?



ROME- More than 40 dead dolphins have been found washed ashore along the western coast of Italy since January 5. 

La Stampa reports that the locations where the dolphins have been found span more than half the western coastline, from Tuscany to Calabria, as well as the island of Sicily, which would indicate that the problem is not caused by humans (e.g. an oil spill or other pollutant). More likely, the dolphins are victims of a problem in the sea that may have caused an infection in the species, according to a statement released by Italian Minister for the Environment Corrado Clini, says Ecoblog. The remains of at least 42 dolphins had been recovered by mid-February.

Source: Ecoblog

Experts have taken samples from the beached cetaceans to seek clues for the cause of this phenomenon. The statement from the Ministry says: The most likely cause is of an infectious nature (in numerous carcasses traces of the bacterium Photobacterium danselae was found, which can lead to hemolytic syndrome and ulcerative lesions).

For this reason, in the coming weeks the researchers will delve into the possible presence of a virus and possible abnormal algal blooms.

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