At least 40 dolphins have been found dead near Mauritius, an island off the coast of East Africa, after an oil spill from a Japanese ship polluted the waters.
Environmentalists are calling for an investigation into the Japanese ship which has been leaking oil into the ocean since July, according to a report released by Reuters on Friday.
The ship was scuttled on Monday.
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“There was a mother and her baby,” fisherman Yasfeer Heenaye told Reuters. “He was very tired, he wasn’t swimming well. But the mother remained by his side, she did not leave her baby to accompany the group. The whole time, she stayed with him. She was trying to protect him.
Fishermen in the area expect the death toll at sea will likely rise, after working to try to separate the animals from the pollution.
Hennaye described how he saw 25 to 30 dolphins floating in a lagoon, apparently dead from the polluted waters. He filmed a baby dolphin struggling until it succumbs too much to them.
Hennaye allegedly asked another boat to follow the mother dolphin after the baby died because her own boat ran out of fuel.
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“But within minutes she went her own way, one fin in the water and one out of the water, and then she started flapping her tail really, really quickly,” Reuben Pillay told the publication.
Pillay is a professional drone operator and environmentalist who filmed the events.
The mother dolphin did not float like the other deceased dolphins, but sank, suggesting more marine life may have died from the oil spill.
Autopsies of 25 other dolphins that stranded earlier this week are expected to be released in the next few days, Jasvin Sok Appadu of the Mauritius Fisheries Department told Reuters.
The oil spill is believed to be the result of a Japanese ship, the MV Wakashio, which struck a coral reef in July.
The environmental activist group Greenpeace submitted a letter to the Japanese company Mitsui OSK Lines, which owns the ship, asking why it was sailing so close to a coral reef.
Greenpeace highlighted not only the damage to marine life, but also the livelihoods of the people who live there.
Mitsui OSK Lines responded, promising to “open a dialogue” to remedy the damage caused by the vessel.
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“It’s time to use your influence to reduce the damage to the planet and to those at risk. This is an opportunity to accelerate the change in your business portfolio and make renewable energies the heart of your business, ”Greenpeace said in a follow-up letter to the company on Thursday, demanding that it stick to it. his promise.
“As long as we keep using oil, spills and accidents like this will continue to happen.”