Subject: cetaceans and pollutants (poole)

roman (jroman@GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU)
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 17:38:55 +0100

>Ia orana outou ("Greetings everyone", in Tahitian),
A student here, Frederique Thomere, is interested in Moorea's
>spinner dolphins and any pollutants (pesticides, herbicides, nitrates,
>sulphates, heavy metals) and any bacteria, viruses, or fungi that may be
>in our waters and that may somehow affect the dolphins.
Are there any data whatsoever on any the above mentioned items
>occurring in tissue samples taken from spinner dolphins in other regions
>in the world?  How about ETP spinners?  I would think that some analyzes
>must have been made on ETP animals.
Is there a general bibliography on cetaceans and pollutants, a
>bibliography that we can easily access or obtain a copy?
Thanks for any info you can provide.  Please send messages with my
>name as the email subject, and also a copy with Frederique's name at this
>same email address.
>Mauru'uru roa ("Many thanks"),
>Michael Poole, Ph.D., Director

Dear Michael:

Thanks for the Tahitian greetings!

I've been getting some difficult questions this weekend.  I'm afraid I
can't be of much help on the spinner dolphins or on a bibliography of
cetaceans and pollution.  But you could try WhaleNet's search engine--to
see if any hits come up for "cetaceans" and "pollution."  The address is

I see that you're on MARMAM, so you probably saw this already, but just in

Mexican Whale/Sea Lion Mortalities.  On Feb. 18, 1999, Mexican television
reported that 3 adult gray whales had died of unknown causes at the
Magdalena Bay breeding lagoon in northwestern Mexico.  In addition, 2
other gray whales were reported dead earlier this year on the coast of
western Sinaloa state.  These mortalities were reported as exceeding
normal conditions.  Also, gray whales were reported to have arrived a
month later than usual at their breeding lagoons, with reports of
migration taking them much further south than usual.  On Feb. 20, 1999,
the Group of 100 (a Mexico City environmental organization) called on the
Mexican government to investigate the recent epidemic of gray whale
deaths, suggesting that the cyanide-based fluorescent dye NK-19 used by
drug smugglers or pollution from mining operations may be responsible for
the whale deaths.  On Feb. 22, 1999, the Contra Costa Times reported the
Mexican news agency as saying that fishermen had found 9 gray whales dead
in recent weeks in Magdalena Bay.  On Feb. 24, 1999, Mexican officials
were reporting 6 dead gray whales (2 adults and 4 calves) in Magdalena
Bay, with all deaths due to natural causes.  {On Feb. 26, 1999, Mexican
authorities reported that as many as 16 gray whales have died along the
northwestern Mexican coast since January 1999, including 4 in Magdalena
Bay.  On Feb. 28, 1999, Mexican scientists reported that the decomposing
bodies of 180 sea lions had been found in the northern Gulf of California
in mid-February 1999.  In addition, a 17th gray whale mortality was
reported in Sinaloa state.  On Mar. 1, 1999, gray whale mortality was
reported as 20 animals -- 7 in the Gulf of California and 13 in breeding
lagoons on Baja California's west coast.}[CNN, Contra Costa Times, BBC
News, Reuters, Chicago Tribune]

Exxon Valdez Spill Recovery.  On Feb. 9, 1999, the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
Trustee Council issued a report on progress with recovery nearly 10 years
after the spill in Prince William Sound, AK.  Only 2 of nearly 2 dozen
species of affected animals are considered fully recovered ? river otters
and bald eagles.  Species listed as recovering include pink salmon,
mussels, sockeye salmon, common murres, clams, Pacific herring, sea
otters, black oystercatchers, and marbled murrelets.  Species showing
little or no signs of recovery include common loon, cormorants, harbor
seals, harlequin ducks, killer whales, and pigeon guillemots.  Recovery
status is unkown for cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden trout, Kittlitz's
murrelet, and rockfish. [Assoc Press, Anchorage Daily News]

Both of these articles come from the weekly CRS marine mammal summary
provided to the  U.S. congress, by

Eugene H. Buck, Senior Analyst
Environment and Natural Resources Policy Division
Congressional Research Service

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Good luck,


Joseph Roman
University of Florida
Wildlife Ecology and Conservation
PO Box 12253
Gainesville, FL 32604
(352) 379-8096