THE cause of death of 25 dolphins that washed up in Mauritius near the site of an oil spill remains unclear after two of the animals showed no trace of oil in their bodies, a preliminary autopsy report showed on Thursday.
“The preliminary results show that the animals did not have trace of hydrocarbon in their respiratory system, nor in their skin, throat or stomach,” the report said.
Some dolphins washed ashore on Wednesday and more were found on Thursday. Only two of the dolphins found on Wednesday had been examined so far, the report said. Those two dolphins appeared to have injuries on their bodies, it added.
The dolphins found on Thursday will be examined by a government veterinarian, according the statement.
The dead dolphins washed up near the site of an oil spill caused by the Japanese-owned MV Wakashio, a bulk carrier that ran aground on July 25 and began to spill oil about a week later. The ship was scuttled on Monday.
The autopsy was conducted by the government-run Albion Fisheries Research Centre.
Local environmental group Eco-Sud called for the full autopsy results to be released publicly, and international environmental pressure group Greenpeace called on the government of Mauritius to launch an inquiry to determine whether the deaths of the mammals were linked to the oil spill.
Scientists still haven’t assessed the full impact of the toxic spill, but have warned that the environmental disaster might affect the island’s wildlife and tourism – a mainstay of its economy – for decades. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.