Mauritius fishermen grapple to rescue dozens of dolphins near oil spill
PORT LOUIS (MAURITIUS) – Fishermen struggled on Sunday to save dozens of injured dolphins, which were washed ashore in Mauritius. The last few days saw the death of at least 40 of the animals in a lagoon near the site of an oil spill from a Japanese bulk carrier.
Yasfeer Heenaye, a fisherman near Pointe aux Feuilles on the island’s eastern shore, said he had counted at least 45 dead dolphins from the time they were first discovered on Wednesday, and said half a dozen more dolphins were in the bay struggling.
He said the animals’ vision could have been weakened by the spilled oil, which could be the reason why they ended up on the reef leading them to sustained fatal injuries.
Authorities, who put the death toll at 42, rubbished any such possibility but said on Sunday the cause of death was being inquired.
Jasvin Sok Appadu from the Fisheries Ministry said on Sunday, “The preliminary autopsy report has excluded that oil played a role, however we sent some samples of the dead dolphins to La Reunion to determine why the animals couldn’t swim and their radar wasn’t functioning.”
So far veterinarians after examining only two of the dead dolphins, which bore signs of injury, said there was no trace of hydrocarbons in their bodies, after the preliminary autopsy results.
Thousands of people took to protests, demanding an investigation.
On Sunday morning Heenaye was out in an attempt to drive the animals away from the coral reef.
He said, “If they stay inside the lagoon they will die like the others…we are pushing them to go outside the lagoon, so they wont get in touch with the oil.”
The critically endangered Pink Pigeon, endemic to the island, the seagrasses, clownfish and mangrove forests, whose roots serve as nurseries for fish are found to be under threat.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.