Thursday, 5 January 2012

The strange slaughter of dolphins

At year end, many blue and white dolphins in the Mediterranean were made by the sea Why do they run aground on the coast Aude? Strong présomptionspèsent a virus attacking their respiratory system. In the middle of branches, thongs orphan and driftwood drifted by currents, waves and wind, a walker discovers a young dolphin death, stranded on the beach of Port-la-Nouvelle, in the Aude. It was a few days ago and the phenomenon is not uncommon. Of dead dolphins have been recently discovered on the beaches of Gruissan, Torreilles and Barcarès. And again last week on the coast Gard. A peak was recorded at the end of 2011, when the Mediterranean coast could no longer get out of heavy seas and the successive marine debris and the bodies brought to the wide beach. "Of the 26 strandings recorded in 2011, volunteers recorded the Network 10 in November," says Lawrence Smith, the head of the Network stranding Mediterranean Centre for marine mammals for the departments of Aude, Pyrenees-Orientales and Hérault. Unusual mortality that can not accurately measure the extent: for ten stranded dolphins, how many die at sea? Hundreds? Thousands? Despite some people spotted off the coastal surveillance brigade of the gendarmerie, impossible to identify, according to Laurent Dupont. The prime suspect of the massacre in dolphins has a name: the Morbilivirus. "We have a strong presumption. In October, we were alerted by the Spaniards of a wave of Morbilivirus. But the samples from the carcasses failed to demonstrate. " SUSPECT NUMBER ONE: THE MORBILIVIRUS Not transmissible to humans, the virus emerged in the early 1990s had wreaked havoc in 2008 on the French Mediterranean coast. By attacking the respiratory system, it causes pneumonia or encephalitis in the dolphin. Exhausted and disoriented, Flipper can then jump on the rocks, stranded or be allowed to die off, a victim of pulmonary congestion. The virus is spread from person to person through the air as the dolphin expire through the vents. The more gregarious, so the most vulnerable, are the blue and white dolphin, a species that scientists do not consider risk. Without the responsibility of Morbilivirus was established, in 2011 the stranding of some bottlenose dolphins, a species more solitary, is no longer a concern. Researchers are working on a different assumption about the disturbing dolphin mortality: an immune deficiency caused by pollution. A track that belie the most recent analysis to prove that water quality improves. Anyway, if you find a dead dolphin on the beach, especially do not touch it. Like all mammals, they may indeed be carriers of zoonotic diseases transmissible to humans such as brucellosis and vibriosis. Call the fire department or the municipal police of the municipality who will contact the stranding network. After identifying the species and sex of the animal, it will take samples of organs to establish the cause of death and state of health. The carcass, it will eventually sadly rendered. Turtles also If cases of stranded whales and sperm whales are rare loggerhead turtle strandings (in our photo in August 2011 in Narbonne-Plage), the main species of reptiles in the Mediterranean, are of concern. Main cause, if not essential for the death of turtles: sea traffic and in particular the increase in collisions with scooters. A nuisance. When they are only wounded, turtles go to the clinic of Grau du Roi which peps then returns them to the water equipped with Argos and banded. There is another threat to turtles in the Mediterranean: the development of tourism in some nesting sites, as in Turkey, for example.

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