SOURCE: The Guardian

DATE: June 15, 2019

SNIP: At least 279 dolphins have become stranded across much of the US Gulf coast since the start of February, triple the usual number, and about 98% of them have died, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

Scientists will investigate whether lingering effects from the 2010 BP oil spill and more immediate effects from low salinity because of freshwater flowing from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway contributed to the deaths, said Teri Rowles, coordinator for NOAA fisheries’ marine mammal health and stranding response program.

BP spill effects included problems with lungs and adrenal glands, which produce stress-related hormones; blood abnormalities; and general poor condition, according to earlier reports. Those reports said the spill contributed to the Gulf of Mexico’s largest and longest dolphin die-off.

Erin Fougeres, administrator for the marine mammal stranding program in NOAA fisheries’ south-east region, said 23% of the dolphins stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had sores consistent with freshwater exposure.