For almost a month now, four or five dolphin carcasses are being washed up in Brazil, on the beach in the Bay of Sepetiba near Rio de Janeiro, each day. So far, more than one hundred dolphin corpses have been found. This means that the local dolphin population has already been decimated, as estimates show there are about eight hundred dolphins living in the waters there. The worst part is, nobody yet knows why this is happening.
Whatever affliction is killing these dolphins, it seems to be affecting all of them equally, with males, females and pups washing up in equal numbers. Marine biologists are working furiously to determine whether the dolphins are suffering due to a pathogen. Skin, blood, flesh and bone samples have been collected and analyzed, but no results have been published as of yet. One trait all these dolphins seem to share is that they wash up in what appears to be a very weakened state, after what seems to have been long suffering. They also exhibit multiple deep lesions in the skin. Marine biologists have stated that these symptoms are never before seen in this dolphin population.
In the meanwhile, conservationists are trying very hard to convince local authorities that this specie of grey dolphins should be declared endangered. At the moment, there isn’t enough data to make a definitive estimate on the number of these dolphins, so endangered status had not been granted. This step could lead to the quick establishment of a marine sanctuary, where scientists could provide closely monitored conditions in an attempt to save the local dolphin population, which is one of the densest and most numerous in the world. If the cause of these deaths is a bacterial infection, such a reserve would act much in the same way that an infectious disease hospital functions for humans.