So far in 2011, some 3,000 dead dolphins have washed up on the beaches in the northern Peruvian region of Lambayaque, supposedly having died from the effects of petroleum exploitation in the area, the daily Peru21 reported Sunday.

According to the science director for the Scientific Organization for Conservation of Aquatic Animals, or ORCA, Carlos Yaipen, the deaths of the oceanic mammals was due to a "marine bubble," an acoustic pocket that forms as a result of using equipment to explore for petroleum below the seabed.

"The oil companies use different frequencies of acoustic waves and the effects produced by these bubbles are not plainly visible, but they generate effects later in the animals. That can cause death by acoustic impact, not only in dolphins, but also in marine seals and whales," Yaipen told the daily.

The expert also added that the acoustic shock causes loss of equilibrium, disorientation and internal hemorrhaging in the animals.

The Association of Marine Cultivators of Lambayeque, meanwhile, denied that local fishermen have been killing the dolphins.

The animals' cause of death is being investigated by Peru's oceanic institute, known as Imarpe, which has taken samples from the dolphins for testing. 

 

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