As many as 40 dolphins have mysteriously died in an area hit by an oil spill from a Japanese boat in Mauritius, officials and witnesses said on Friday, August 28.
According to a report by Reuters, Yasfeer Heenaye, a fisherman, said he saw between 25 and 30 apparently dead dolphins floating in the lagoon.
"There was a mother and her baby. He was very tired, he didn't swim well. But the mum stayed alongside him, she didn't leave her baby to go with the group. All the way she stayed with him. She was trying to protect him," Heenaye told the media.
The calf later died in front in front of him. While Reuben Pillay, a professional drone operator and environmentalist tracked the mother dolphin, he said, "In a few minutes she went on her side, one fin in the water, and one out of the water and then she started flapping her tail really really rapidly."
"She swam in circles in front of the boat, she moved her tail very violently and after about five minutes she just stopped moving, and she sunk ... We heard cries, I thought it was a woman on the boat - but they told me, no - it was the dolphin," he added.
The dolphin eventually stopped moving and slowly sank, and the dead body floated on the water.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have demanded an investigation to find out whether the dolphins were killed due to the oil spill. Autopsy results of the 25 dolphins that washed ashore on Wednesday and Thursday are awaited.
According to preliminary autopsy results of the two dolphins that were examined, not trace of hydrocarbons were found in their body.
On July 25, the Japanese ship, the MV Wakashio's hull had struck a coral reef off the island, unleashing a vast oil spill. When the ship's hull cracked early this month, an estimated 1,000 tonnes of oil had leaked into the sea.Also Read: Massive Oil Spill From Damaged Ship Threatens Mauritius, Volunteers Struggle To Contain Disaster