Fishermen and environmentalists are calling on officials to investigate the deaths of more than 200 pelicans on the beaches of northern Peru, media reports said.

The dead seabirds were found along a 200-kilometer (124-mile) stretch of beaches in the Piura and Lambayeque regions over the past few days, the elcomercio.pe Web site reported.

"More than 200 dead pelicans were found in the entire area. The cause of this new environmental disaster is not known," the newspaper said, alluding to the deaths of some 800 dolphins in the same area since the beginning of the year.

The majority of the dead pelicans were found from San Jose Bay to the Illescas preserve, located on the border of Piura and Lambayeque.

Dozens of other dying birds have been spotted on the beaches, Puerto Eten Fishermen's Association president Francisco Ñiquen said.

The Peruvian Sea Institute, or Imarpe, and international scientists should investigate what is happening on the north coast, Ñiquen said.

Hundreds of dolphins have been found stranded since January for unknown reasons, environmentalist Heinz Plengue said.

A number of possible causes, ranging from a virus to mining exploration in the Pacific Ocean, may be responsible for the deaths of the animals, experts said.

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