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Experts investigating whether cyclone contributed to mass dolphin deaths

Experts investigating whether cyclone contributed to mass dolphin deaths
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Experts looking into the mass death of dolphins on an island off the coast of Mozambique suspect that a recent cyclone could be to blame, the BBC reports.

About 186 dead dolphins have been discovered on Bazaruto Island, north of the capital city of Maputo, since Sunday. One hundred were initially found, and an additional 86 washed ashore Tuesday.

Tomás Manasse, head of inspection at the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, told the BBC a cyclone that hit the area last week could be the cause. Cyclone Guambe, equivalent to a category 2 storm, was the fourth tropical cyclone of the 2020–2021 South Indian Ocean season, according to NASA.

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Dolphins are herd creatures and are prone to following their leaders into dangerous territory under duress. Mass strandings can occur when dolphins are experience unexpected factors, including unusual weather or oceanographic events, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Manasse said that the tropical cyclone led to the unrest in nearby waters, although the official cause of death for the animals is still unknown. An autopsy did not identify any problems based on samples taken from the skin, tongue or intestines of the dolphins that could have contributed to their death, the BBC reports.