Last week, a bizarre phenomenon occurred in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa. Authorities from the Cape Verde islands have announced that nearly 200 dolphins have suddenly beached themselves in what some have described as a mass suicide attempt. The collection of dolphins were of the melon-headed species and were found in Boa Vista island on Tuesday, which shocked officials and beachgoers alike.
Because local authorities were at a complete loss for what had happened, Cape Verde has called on Spanish experts to visit the island to get to the bottom of the mystery. Because the dolphins seemed to be beaching themselves on purpose, locals, including officials and tourists, tried to drag some dolphins back out into the open water. While they did succeed, it was kind of a moot point as many of the dolphins simply fought their way back onto the land, where they proceeded to expire in the open air.
Although people did their best to help save the dolphins from the hot conditions, authorities had to bury 136 dead dolphins following the mass death. While some of the dolphins managed to escape the beaching, experts do not think those dolphins will survive very long. The fact that so many dolphins died on the water like that likely traumatized the escaped dolphins, which may lead them to have a shorter life as a result.
Scientists believe that since the dolphin school had a leader, that leader might have become disoriented or lost and accidentally led the entire population of melon-nosed dolphins to their deaths on the beach.
BIOS Cape Verde is a volunteer environmental association on the island nation off the coast of West Africa, which used to be a Portuguese colony, wrote a Facebook update about the incident. They claimed that they gathered at least 50 samples from the deceased dolphins, which they’ll examine to see if something specific caused the mass beaching or if it was simply a mistake by the school’s leader. Besides these samples, the local council put four other dolphins in a deep freeze as they await feedback on what happened.
As mentioned earlier, Spain is sending veterinarians from their University of Las Palmas to come to check out the dolphin samples and provide feedback on what might have occurred. The bizarre event has so far thrown everyone for a loop as it is simply so strange.
A similar incident occurred before, and activists are calling for renewed concern over the wildlife off the coast of West Africa. In March 2019, a report came out that 1,100 dolphins beached themselves on the coast of France over the course of just three months. That was a record high of forty years.
Many of the dolphins that died on the coast of France were causalities from fishermen. The beached dolphins had sustained injuries from fishing nets that left their bodies scarred and their fins amputated from their bodies.
While experts try to get a better understand of this strange event, wildlife advocates urge people to protect the oceans and the life within before it is gone from the world forever.
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