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Dolphins Dying Off By The Thousands, So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

Something weird is going on in the Gulf of Mexico. Granted there’s always something weird going on in the Gulf of Mexico, whether it’s a destructive hurricane or a massively destructive oil leak. But this time it’s weird and completely unexplained. The dolphins are dying.

We’re not talking about a couple of dolphins beaching themselves, man’s ocean-faring friends are dying by the thousands. In the past two years 714 dolphins have washed up, dead, on the Texas/Louisiana shore. To put that in perspective it’s normal to find about 74 dead dolphins a year.

If we’re finding 714 dolphins dead on the beach that almost certainly means thousands more dead out in the ocean and not actually washing up… because these dolphins aren’t beaching themselves. They’re already dead when they wash up on the beach, partially decomposed and in pretty bad shape. Dead dolphins normally sink so odds are we’re only seeing a fraction of the total death toll.

Maybe it’s all an evil plot by those implacable dolphin enemies the sharks, but something more scientific is probably involved. It’d be easy (and satisfying) to blame the BP oil spill in April of 2010, but actually this started before that. Discovery says 110 dolphins had already washed up dead on the beach between February and April of that year.

Theories range anywhere from oil to some sort of mysterious bacteria, but right now no one has any answers and at some point… we’re going to start running out of dolphins.

NOAA is investigating. Follow their progress on their official site. In the meantime think a good thought for our seafaring buddies. So long and thanks for all the fish guys.

UPDATE! It seems this story is even worse than we originally thought. These mass dolphin deaths aren’t limited to the Gulf of Mexico. As discovered by GFR reader Shawn Glenn it’s now happening in Peru. There over 600 dead dolphins have washed up on the shore.

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