Two Months Three Dolphins

MOT Dead DolphinIn the last two months five creatures, amongst them three dolphins, have appeared dead on the beaches of Costa Tropical. The other two were a turtle and a shark.

In July, staff from a diving school in La Herradura found a baby dolphin (see photo). One of their teachers was giving class when he saw the stricken creature being washed against the rocks. The first thing they did was cover it with a wet towel, taking care not to block its breathing hole.

The baby dolphin was stressed out by all the people gathered around so they asked the crowd to stand back whilst at the same time alerting Seprona (the Environmental Department of the Guardia Civil). However, within two hours it had died from exhaustion and stress.

As for the other two dolphins, both had appeared a little earlier in that same month but on Playa de la Mamola. The shark, in a state of advanced decomposition, was washed up on La Rábita beach and the turtle on Playa Granada in Motril.

Marine specialists are particulary worried by deaths amongst the dolphin population which are being hard hit by the DMV virus, and here we quote from Wikipedia:

Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) is a virus that infects marine mammals in the order Cetacea, which includes dolphins, porpoises and whales. Three genetically distinct strains have been identified: dolphin morbillivirus (DMV), pilot whale morbillivirus (PWMV) and porpoise morbillivirus (PMV).

Symptoms of infection are often a severe combination of pneumonia, encephalitis and damage to the immune system, which greatly impair the cetacean’s ability to swim and stay afloat unassisted. Since its discovery in 1987, CeMV has been responsible for numerous epizootics of mass mortality in cetacean populations. Epizootics of CeMV can be easily identified by a significant increase in the number of stranded cetaceans on beaches and shores.”

The Junta de Andalucía the only administración that has the means and capacity to take charge of these sick animals. Seprona can only act by informing the Regional Department of the Environment. In many cases when the animal is washed up in a state of decomposition, it is the beach-cleaning service of each municipality that disposes of the corpse.

There are only three Marine Protection Centres in Andalucía, which are located in Almería, Cadiz and Málaga. However, it is the Aula del Mar de la Costa del Sol that normally travels to the beaches where these animal appear to attend to them if they are sick or dispose of them if they have only recently died (for an autopsy).

(News: Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia: Photo: Pretorianos Dive Center)

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