At least 13 dead dolphins have been found on the seashore in Mauritius, more than a month after the massive oil spill caused by a Japanese ship.
The deaths were caused either by the spill or by the authorities’ decision to sink the ship’s rod, environmental activists said.
The carcasses have been sent for an autopsy, which will establish the cause of death, police said.
These are the first reported dolphin deaths since the sinking.
So far, many fish and crabs have been found dead.
It is very rare to find so many dead dolphins at the same time. Two were found in May 2019.
The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef on 25 Juy at Esny Point, a sanctuary known for its rare wildlife.
The area also contains wetlands designated as a Site of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
The sight of dead dolphins caused a lot of anger among residents.
“Waking up this morning to see so many dead dolphins on our seashore is worse than a nightmare. Many nongovernmental organizations, fishermen, experts said not to sink this vessel where they did as it was like a dolphin house but once again the authorities took a bad decision, ”resident Nitin Jeeha told the BBC.
“I saw about eight to ten dead dolphins. Are there others in the lagoon? ” he added.
The Fisheries Department confirmed 13 deaths, saying many dolphins were dead, while others were weak or dying, when they were found at the seaside.
Oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo said the dolphins smelled of fuel oil.
“In my opinion, this situation will continue to deteriorate over time,” he said, quoted by local media.
Environmentalist Sunil Dowarkasing said the oil spill from the bulk carrier or the sinking of its front last week caused the death.
“The scuttling likely disturbed marine mammals in their natural habitat. There will be sequelae, and this is only the beginning, ”added Mr. Dowarkasing.
Greenpeace Africa has warned that “thousands” of animal species “risk drowning in a sea of pollution, with disastrous consequences for the economy, food security and health of Mauritius”.