South America

23 dolphins found dead on Argentina beach

Argentinian authorities are investigating why almost two dozen dolphins have been found dead along the country's northeastern coast.

Almost two dozen Franciscana dolphins have been found dead in recent days on different beaches in Argentina, prompting an investigation.

That figure of 23 was confirmed to EFE on Wednesday by the Mundo Marino foundation, which received reports of the deaths and has arranged for studies to determine why the animals lost their lives.

"They've appeared along 50km of coast between the towns of San Clemente del Tuyu and Mar de Ajo" in the eastern province of Buenos Aires, Mundo Marino spokeswoman Gloria Veira told EFE.

"The fact that such a large number appeared, all at once, makes us suspect that some issue in particular led to the deaths of these animals."

The foundation has arranged for autopsies to be performed on several of the dolphins, a task to be carried out by National University of La Plata pathologists.

Some of the dead cetaceans had net markings on their snouts, according to Veira, although she said she wanted to avoid casting blame until having the results of the autopsies.

Between 500 and 800 Franciscana dolphins turn up dead each year along a coastal stretch running from southern Brazil to Argentina due to becoming entangled in fishing nets, she said.

"It's estimated that there are around 40,000 members of this species, and with these death statistics it's unfortunately possible the species will no longer exist 30 years from now," she warned.

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