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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Scientists bewildered by mass dolphin deaths

Scientists with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are at a loss to explain several dozen dead dolphins washing ashore over the last month along the eastern seaboard. The states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia have all reported beached carcasses, with the latter of the five taking the brunt of the event.

Many within the scientific community note it is reminiscent of the mass deaths of 1987, when at least 740 dolphins were discovered along the east coast. That situation was eventually blamed upon a virulent strain of morbillivirus; while researchers suspect this is what is responsible for the current situation, there is yet no proof to confirm or deny this hypothesis.

This shadows a Florida situation reported last month, where at least 54 dolphins mysteriously died within the Indian River Lagoon over a period of seven months; scientists do not currently believe, however, that the two events are related. NOAA issued a "Unusual Mortality Event" warning on Wednesday, in response to recent rash of unsolved deaths.

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