Peru Dolphin Deaths "Natural"; Pelicans May Have Starved

May 26, 2012; 6:10 AM
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Two Pelicans vie for a fish tossed by a Peruvian chef in an effort to stave off the birds starving after their food fish migrated away from warming coastal waters earlier this year. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

The roughly 800 dolphin deaths observed off central and northern Peru are likely a result of natural causes, Fox New Latino website said on Wednesday, citing a government agency finding.

Meanwhile, deaths of more than 1,200 pelicans were blamed on starvation, owing to warming-induced migration of the cold-water fish that are the birds' food.

According to Peru's Sea Institute, human activities have been "ruled out as a direct cause of death" for the dolphins. However, the report left the exact cause of death undetermined.

As for the pelican deaths, these were attributed to lack of food, a government minister stated told a Peru radio audience on Tuesday.

Migration of cold-water fish away from the coast has followed warming of the sea surface off central and northern Peru. Most of the dead birds were found to be "very young pelicans", inexperienced in gathering their own food.

The hundreds of dead seabirds were found along a stretch of beaches in Piura and Lambayeque regions earlier this year, leading to calls for an official investigation.

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