The mysterious maritime macabre continues in the Pacific Ocean off the northern coast of Peru. First, hundreds of dolphins began washing up on the beaches in the state of Lambayeque. Now, in the same area, hundreds of seabirds are joining the marine massacre.
More than 1,200 birds, including 538 pelicans, have been found on the beaches, reported TV Peru. Local fishermen report the deaths started about two weeks ago.
"When you have something this large, my gut would tell me that there's something traumatic that happened," Sue Rocca, a marine biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, told CNN.
Just as with the dolphins, the cause of avian annihilation is unknown. Disease is a possible culprit, but no evidence has been found. Some have suggested a bloom of toxic algae or other microorganisms may have poisoned the food chain from the bottom up, but a government panel found no evidence of this.
The panel also has ruled out lack of food, interaction with fisheries, poisoning with pesticides or contamination by heavy metals. No sign of injury from acoustic waves used to search for oil was found in the birds either.
Photo: Peru, Piura Province, Mancora, small boat with pelicans. Credit: Corbis.