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Is BP Wreaking Havoc Again? You Decide.

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peruvian authorities are still trying to unravel the mystery of why hundreds of dolphins ended up dead on beaches in the country over the past 2 1/2 months.

Deputy Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria told The Associated Press in an interview on Friday that studies are incomplete but officials hope to complete their research on the likely causes next week.

He said that the carcasses of 877 dolphins and porpoises were found between February and mid-April on the beaches of northern Peru. About 90 percent were long-beaked common dolphins, while others were Burmeister porpoises, Quijandria said.

"The most probable hypothesis is the possibility of an infection with a virus," he said. "There are scientific articles about the incidence of morbillivirus, a type of distemper, in cetaceans in Peru, and that can be ruled out or proven next week."

He said officials don't believe the dolphins' deaths are related to seismic oil exploration work that was carried out off northern Peru between Feb. 8 and April 8 by the Houston-based company BPZ Energy.

Rafael Zoeger, the company's manager in Peru, said the seismic studies were carried out using a ship that fired discharges of compressed air toward the sea floor. It's customary for oil companies to carry out such surveys with air-guns that emit sounds and send out underwater pulses. Zoeger said the company does not believe the dolphins died due to the oil exploration work.

The Peruvian environmental group Orca has said that sound waves from the seismic work appeared to be the likely cause.

But Quijandria said that "so far there is no evidence linking the deaths of the dolphins to the seismic work."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/21/official-dolphin-de...



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