HomeNewsMauritius Fishermen Rescue Dolphins from Massive Oil Spill

Mauritius Fishermen Rescue Dolphins from Massive Oil Spill

by Halle Ames
(Photo by Beekash Roopun / L'Express Maurice / AFP) (Photo by BEEKASH ROOPUN/L'Express Maurice/AFP via Getty Images)

Dozens of injured dolphins in Mauritius washed ashore Sunday where fishermen raced to save them. Just days before, forty animals were found dead.

On the island of Mauritius, roughly 700 miles off the shore of Madagascar, they are battling an issue. In late July, a Japanese bulk tanker struck a coral reef, sending oil into the ocean. In recent days, more than 40 dolphins have been found dead in the area of the crash.

Yasfeer Heenaye, a fisherman on the island’s eastern shore, said there were at least 45 dead dolphins since the discovery on Wednesday. He went on to say that there were half a dozen more dolphins in the bay fighting for their life.

Heenaye believes the animals died due to impaired vision from the spill, which is how the animals would fatally stumble onto the reef.

Authorities have ruled out this theory but are still investigating the cause of death. They put the dolphin death toll at 42.

Autopsy Results on the Dolphins

Jason Sok Appadu from the Fisheries Ministry said, “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.”

Veterinarians are also stumped as to why these animals died. After performing autopsies on two dead dolphins, vets said that there were signs of injury. On the other hand, vets found no traces of hydrocarbons in their bodies either. Autopsy reports for all the dolphins are expected back today, said officials.

Community Involvement

On Sunday, in the capital of Port Louis, thousands of concerned protestors peacefully demanded an investigation into the oil spill and death of the dolphins. Some even called for the government’s resignation.

Heenaye, along with seven other boats, were out on the water Sunday morning, to try to scare the dolphins back out to open water. The men would hit metal bars together to drive the animals away from the deadly coral reef.

Heenaye says, “If they stay inside the lagoon they will die like the others. We are pushing them to go outside the lagoon, so they won’t get in touch with the oil.”

The oil spill is still creating problems. The Mauritius Marine Conservation Society says that over nine miles of coastline and still on the move. Nearby, the Blue Bay Marine Park, which is home to thirty-eight types of coral and 78 species of fish, is hoping for a miracle.

[H/T Yahoo News]