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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

What is behind the growing number of dolphins washing up on Yucatán’s shores?

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
While “Flippy” was able to return to the ocean with help of local fishermen, not all dolphins are so lucky. Photo: Courtesy

Wildlife authorities and biologists are showing concern over an increase in the number of beached dolphins found on Yucatán’s beaches. 

Over the weekend, four deceased Spinner dolphins were found on beaches in Chelem and Chuburná, in the municipality of Progreso. 

The dolphins were buried by environmental authorities who say they have no solid leads on what could be causing this phenomenon. 

Earlier this month, dozens of dolphins belonging to the same species were found in a similar state in Holbox, however, all but one were eventually rescued alive and returned to the ocean. 

Some scientists have theorized that dolphins may strand themselves due to illness or injury, swimming close to shore to take refuge in shallow water, and getting trapped by the changing tide

Earlier: Dolphin found beached on the shore of San Crisanto

Environmental authorities say that they will be keeping a close eye on the situation and that the public should report any marina animal beachings to the phone numbers 969-103-62-86 and 9992-77-21-90.

Dolphin sightings are relatively common in Yucatán’s shallow waters. Because dolphins are extremely curious and social creatures, they are on occasion even known to come in close proximity to humans.

In recent years, authorities and private companies offering dolphin shows have come under increasing pressure to end this practice which critics argue is tantamount to animal abuse. 

Spinner dolphins are small cetaceans with a slim build. Adults are typically 129–235 cm long and reach a body mass of 23–79 kg.

Like all species of cetaceans, Spinner dolphins have been demonstrated to be among the most intelligent animals on the planet, possessing complex cognitive abilities including long-term memory and complex language skills.

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