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article imageTen dolphins run aground on Chilean island’s beach, seven died

By Igor I. Solar     Aug 15, 2013 in Environment
Lebu - The possible disorientation of the leader of the pod appears as the likely explanation for the unusual stranding of ten large dolphins on a beach in Mocha Island in central-southern Chile.
Local fishermen and personnel of the Chilean Navy, assisted with a tractor, attempted to return the animals to sea, and succeeded with three of them. Unfortunately, seven dolphins were unable to go back to the ocean and died on the beach. A group of specialists traveled to the island to investigate the causes of the mass stranding of the dolphins, reports Sernapesca (in Spanish).
Eduardo Letelier, Port Captain of Lebu, said the dolphins were in very poor condition, barely breathing. "There are no signs of pollutants or changes in temperature or water color, so this may be a natural phenomenon, although uncommon in this area," said Letelier, according to La Tercera (in Spanish).
The dead dolphins belong to the species Grampus griseus, known as the Risso's dolphin. The dolphins of this species are the largest in the family Delphinidae that are commonly called "dolphin". Orcas (Orcinus orca), also belonging to the family Delphinidae, are not referred to as dolphins, but are known as whales (most often "Killer whales"). Risso's dolphins can reach about 3.5 meters and weighs about 500 kilograms. Males tend to be slightly larger than females. It is a pelagic species distributed worldwide in tropical, temperate and sub-polar seas. Risso's dolphins are social animals and usually travel in groups (pods) of 10 to 30 individuals.
Mocha Island is located 34 kilometers from Tirúa, a town of Arauco Province in the Bíobio Region, in central-southern Chile. The island has an area of 48 square kilometres, with a small mountain range that runs from north to south. About 800 inhabitants, mainly ethnic Mapuche, live in Mocha Island primarily engaged in subsistence and commercial fishing activities.
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