Around 279 bottlenose dolphins were discovered stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle since the month of February, said the researchers from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The authorities found the dolphin strandings between 1 February and 31 May. Nearly 98 percent of these dolphins were dead, as per NOAA.
This figure is thrice the average recorded in the northern gulf region previously, said Erin Fougeres, NOAA’s administrator for the marine mammal stranding program.
Due to the strandings and death of the dophins, NOAA declared it an uncommon mortality event.
As of Wednesday, there were 121 dolphin strandings discovered in Mississippi while 89 were discovered in Louisiana, 37 across Florida and 32 across Alabama, said Fougeres.
An increased number of strandings are being observed in Louisiana and Mississippi which is making the researchers extremely concerned about the fresh water.
On Friday, Fougeres told the media that it’s too early to say the cause of the deaths, but the investigators are considering the salt levels prevailing in the fresh water. The bottlenose dolphins generally are found in waters which have high salt levels and that they don’t leave their home range in spite of environmental changes, as per the agency.
The investigators are looking into everything, which includes oil spilling in the Gulf, food supply as well as other potential impacts caused by the 2010 BP oil spill.
The agency has urged the public to reach out to local stranding network about any stranded, sick or even dead dolphins.