In an occurrence that has scientists and environmentalists baffled, more than 3,000 dolphins have been found dead on Peru beaches this year.
Carlos Yaipen Llanos, science director for the Organizacion Cientifica para Conservacion de Animales Acuaticos (ORCA), believes powerful sonic waves caused by oil exploration ships could have caused internal damage to dolphins.
When a few hundred dolphins washed onto shore in February, the main hypothesis was that the dolphins had consumed toxic fish. Testing was unable to confirm this claim. The next hypothesis Llanos believes is that “sonic blasts” created by acoustic testing can cause loss of equilibrium and internal bleeding. If that was the case, it was likely the dolphins suffered a prolonged and agonizing demise.
The United States has put a halt to similar acoustic testing in the event it is the cause of so many dolphin deaths.