136 Dolphins Dead in a Mass Stranding on Cape Verde Islands

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
September 27, 2019World News
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136 Dolphins Dead in a Mass Stranding on Cape Verde Islands
Dead dolphins are seen on a beach on Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde on Sept. 24, 2019. (Bios Cabo Verde Wildlife Conservation)

More than 100 dolphins died in a mass stranding on an island in the Cape Verde archipelago off the coast of West Africa, authorities said.

A statement from BIOS Cape Verde, a volunteer environmental association in the former Portuguese colony, said they were called around 6 a.m. on Sept. 24 about a massive stranding.

Once arrived, officials found around 163 “melon-headed whales” stranded on the eastern side of Boa Vista Island, the dolphins included adults, juveniles and calves.

In a video from BIOS, approximately 100 people can be seen helping to get the dolphins back into the ocean during a massive rescue operation.

Unfortunately, upon being reintroduced in the sea, most of the animals stranded again.

Watch:

Following two days of massive strandings, technicians from the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture, the City Council and BIOS followed up on the situation in surrounding areas, BIOS said.

BIOS said they found 136 dolphins dead on the beach on Wednesday.

The animals are currently being removed and buried to prevent any environmental and public health hazards, the agency said.

Mass dolphine stranding Cape Verde 3
Stranded melon-headed whales on the eastern side of the island Boa Vista, Cape Verde on Sept. 24. 2019. (Photo by Bios Cabo Verde Wildlife Conservation)
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BIOS member investigating the carcass of a melon-headed juvenile whale. (Photo by Bios Cabo Verde Wildlife Conservation)

Some of the dolphins managed to get back to deep waters and survive, but officials fear they won’t have long to live after their traumatic ordeal, the Herald Publicist reported.

Authorities said it is not yet clear why the dolphins were washed onto the islands, but wildlife experts said the leader of the pack could have become disorientated and made its way onto dry land.

BIOS said it took samples from 50 dolphins for analysis to find out what happened. Another four were placed in deep freeze by the local council.

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Officials take samples from a melon-headed whale for analysis to find out what happened. (Photo by Bios Cabo Verde Wildlife Conservation)
Mass dolphine stranding Cape Verde 5
Officials investigate the carcass of a melon-headed whale. (Photo by Bios Cabo Verde Wildlife Conservation)

The group said veterinarians from the University of Las Palmas in Spain’s Canary Islands are due in the coming days to perform tests, which will also serve to train local technicians in the subject.

In June this year, scores of dolphins have died along Florida‘s southwest coast due to the red tide bloom in the past year, federal researchers said.

Figures released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed 174 dolphins were stranded in a mass die-off between July 2018 and June 2019.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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