In the aftermath of the oil spill that polluted that waters of Mauritius from a leaked Japanese-owned vessel, 40 dolphins have washed up dead on the shore of the island nation as stated by officials on Friday.
According to Fox News, an investigation on the deaths of the dolphins has already been demanded by environmentalists. The said environmental groups have asked for an inquiry on whether it was indeed a result of the recent oil spill.
In a statement by Yasfeer Heenave, one of the fishermen who were trying to herd the mammals away from the polluted waters, he has seen around 25-30 dolphins that were already floating in the lagoon on Friday morning. This is an addition to the number remains that were discovered in the previous days.
According to several witnesses, the heart-wrenching deaths included one mother dolphin and its baby. Heave stated that the mother stayed behind to protect its offspring and refused to go with the group that was being ushered away from the pollution. The fisherman and several witnesses saw the calf die.
A few moments after the death of its calf, the mother dolphin also died.
On the other hand, a spokesperson from the Mauritius fisheries ministry stated in an interview with Reuters that 38 carcasses of dolphins have been seen on the beach, earlier that day.
The results of the autopsy performed on the 25 carcasses that washed up on the coast of Mauritius on Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be released in the next few days.
Based on reports, only two dolphins have been examined by veterinarians at the moment. The results of the examination showed that the dolphins sustained injuries around the area of their jaws but exhibited no signs of oil or hydrocarbons. The veterinarians that examined the dolphins were from the Albion Fisheries Research Centre, a government-run organization.
The dead dolphins were found on the coast of an area that was affected after the oil leak from MV Wakashio polluted the waters of Mauritius. The ship broke after it hit a coral reef back in July.
Thousands March for Dead Sea Mammals
Meanwhile, the death of the dolphins triggered protests against the slow response of the government on the spill. Tens of thousands of people marched, honked, and drummed in Mauritius calling out the government's inaction.
According to ABC News, protesters carried signs calling the government shameless, Some even had signs that said "I've seen better Cabinets at IKEA." While one of the protesters had an inflatable dolphin that he raised above the crowd.
The protesters peacefully marched to the country's capital, Port Louis.
A commentary published in the Mauritian newspaper, Le Mauricien, stated that the incident has created a turning point in the history of the island nation.
Some of the speakers during the protests called the government officials to step down from office since the wreck was a month ago and there has been no improvement in their response.
Aside from endangering the marine life, the spill also threatens the economy of Mauritius which mostly relies on its tourism.