LIMA, April 22 (UPI) -- Scientists say they are investigating the mysterious deaths of 877 dolphins washed ashore in Peru this year, many in advanced states of decomposition.
Peruvian Deputy Environmental Minister Gabriel Quijandria said an outbreak of Morbillivirus or Brucella bacteria could have been the cause. However, results of a histopathological analysis -- which would determine whether contamination was the culprit -- are expected in the coming days. Starvation, poisoning or interactions with fisheries have been ruled out as causes of death.
More than 80 percent of the dolphins washed ashore were in advanced states of decomposition, making it more difficult to determine the causes of death.
CNN reports the deaths are part of a worldwide trend. The International Fund for Animal Welfare said in February alone, 108 dead dolphins washed ashore in Cape Cod. Amateur video showed more than 30 dolphins washing ashore in Rio de Janeiro in March, which were later safely returned to the sea.