“An urgent investigation is needed to determine the cause of the strandings and whether they are related to the spill,” Greenpeace Africa said in a statement Wednesday.Officials said preliminary tests on two dolphins revealed no trace of the oil.
“Preliminary results show that the animals had no trace of oil in their respiratory system, or in their skin, throat or stomach,” according to an autopsy report cited by Reuters.
The two dolphins vets examined had bodily injuries.
On July 25, the MV Wakashio, owned by Nagashiki Shipping,of its cargo of 4,000 tonnes of oil in the sea along the coast of Mauritius, including in a protected wetland. Activists said the spill threatened 35 years of restoration work by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation which has reintroduced many In the region.
“It is a deeply sad and alarming day for the people of Mauritius and for their singular biodiversity, itself known and appreciated by the global biodiversity community,” said Happy Khambule, climate and energy campaign manager for Greenpeace Africa . “Greenpeace calls on the authorities to carry out a rapid, transparent and public autopsy of the bodies collected. ”
Thousands of residents took action, working quickly to eliminate flora and fauna from the affected area. But scientists and activists fear the spill will have an effect on local wildlife for years to come.
“We have planted around 200,000 native trees to restore the coastal forest,” Jean Hugue Gardenne of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation told The Associated Press. “We have reintroduced endangered birds including the pink pigeon, olive white eye and the critically endangered Mauritius fody to Ile aux Aigrettes. Now all of this is under threat as the oil seeps into the soil and coral reefs.
Greenpeace Africa has warned that “thousands” of species “risk drowning in a sea of pollution, with disastrous consequences for the economy, food security and health of Mauritius”.
Campaigners believe the deaths were caused either by the spill itself or by the subsequent sinking of the ship. The authorities deliberately sunk part of the ship after it split in two.
“The decision to empty the front section of the MV Wakashio is a serious concern for experts considering the potential for further serious environmental impacts beyond the damage already done,” Greenpeace Africa said.
The environmental organization also called on the companies involved to launch an independent public inquiry into the disaster and to abandon the surrounding waters “to ensure the protection of the island”.