La Paz, Mexico, May 26 (EFE).- At least 30 common short-beaked dolphins were found dead in the Gulf of California, or the Sea of Cortez, off the coast of Mexico’s northwestern Baja California Sur state, authorities reported Thursday.
After the report, environmental authorities and other civil organizations dispatched representatives to the site, north of the state capital of La Paz, where the members of the Delphinus capensis species – the most common dolphin in the world – were found dead on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Officials with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa), in coordination with the Network for Attention to Marine Mammal Beachings for the Coast of Baja California Sur, tallied the number of dolphins found dead along the beaches and ended up removing several other dead individuals that were floating near the coast.
In addition, they took biological samples from the bodies for analysis to determine the cause of death.
Scientists with the Network said that presumably the majority of the dolphins arrived at the beaches either dead or in very poor health, adding that their bodies did not show any signs of having been dashed against the rocks.
The executive director of the Whale and Ocean Sciences Museum, Francisco Javier Gomez, the head of mammal rescue operations in the lower part of the Baja California peninsula, told EFE that “three dozen of the animals, 27 in the said area and three more a couple of kilometers away” had been found.
“The great majority of the dolphins show signs of having been dead for some days, however, it’s possible that a couple of them had died less than 24 hours earlier,” he said.
He went on to say that “probably the freshest specimens will be taken to the Whale Museum’s labs, where attempts will be made to get more precise information on the causes of death.”
The common dolphin is a gregarious mammal that can live in colonies of up to 500. Adults measure between 1.7 and 2.4 meters (5.5 and 8 feet) in length and can weigh between 70 and 110 kilograms (154 and 242 pounds).
In this portion of Mexico, large groups of dolphins are often seen leaping out of the water and swimming at high speeds, doing flips and somersaults in the air which often look synchronized.
One of the theories about the causes of dolphin beaching concerns the presence of killer whales (orcas) in the area.
The dolphins whose bodies were already decomposing will be buried near where they were found.
The most recent mass beaching along the Baja California coast occurred in 2017, when about 50 dolphins were found along Pichilingue beach, but on that occasion most of them were able to be rescued and then were returned alive to deeper water.