What’s causing dolphin deaths in Leon?

(posted April 1, 10:30 a.m.)- Semana Santa beachgoers in the northern Pacific department of León were surprised to discover three dead dolphins and a baby whale calf washed up on three different beaches last week, according to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARENA).

The first dead dolphin, measuring 2.1 meters long and weighing some 80 kilograms, was discovered on León’s Playa Hermosa last Tuesday. The dolphin reportedly had scratches and wounds on its body, supposedly from getting caught in a current and banged into rocks along the shore, according to MARENA minister Juanita Argeñal.

The first of three dead dolphins found on beaches in León last week (photo/ MARENA)

MARENA authorities says the dead dolphin was found close to the spot where a baby whale calf also washed ashore dead on March 23. The whale calf reportedly had similar injuries.

On March 29, two more dolphins were found dead on the nearby shores of El Tránsito and Poneloya. Those dolphins were discovered in a state of decomposition, MARENA says.

Authorities believe those dolphins were also caught in strong currents and banged fatally against the rocks.

Experts, however, say it’s unusual for dolphins, which are very strong swimmers, to get stuck in normal ocean currents.

“It would not be normal for healthy dolphins to get caught up currents and banged on rocks, unless there was a hurricane, or if some Navy sonar was driving them crazy and inshore,” says Denise Herzing, head of the U.S.-based Wild Dolphin Project.

Herzing says it’s possible that the dolphins could have died from some other offshore cause and then got battered against the rocks.

Considering MARENA already buried the four dead animals, further investigation into the cause of their deaths is unlikely.

Investigating deaths of fish

Authorities are investigating the cause of thousands of dead fish washed ashore in San Francisco Libre (photo/ MARENA)

Authorities are, however, investigating the mysterious deaths of thousands of  fish that last week washed up on the coast of San Francisco Libre, on the northern shore of Lake Managua.

MARENA reports that the lake water near the spot where the dead fish were found “appears different” than in other parts of the lake.

Authorities are testing samples of the water to determine the cause of the fishes’ deaths and alert the nearby community if the water poses a health risk to humans.