Subject: Info: Dead cetaceans in the Azores (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita)
Mon, 24 Feb 1996 16:42:01

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From: Michael Williamson <>
Subject: Info: Dead cetaceans in the Azores (fwd)
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Date: Sat, 24 Feb 1996 18:20:39 -0200
From: Jose' Azevedo <>
To: Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Subject: Dead cetaceans in the Azores
On February 7, 2 dolphins washed ashore on the island of Sao Miguel,
Azores. One of them was found on the north coast and was observed by me;
the other was destroyed by the firemen before I was able to see it.
On February 20 a baleen whale was found dead on the north coast of the
island. Again, the firemen destroyed it before I could see it. Fortunately,
a television crew filmed the specimen, and it was featured in that nigth's
news service.
On February 22 I was again called to observe two other dead dolphins found
in two localities about 10 Km apart.
A coleague reported that about two weeks ago another carcass of _Delphinus
delphis_ was found at the island of Faial.
The three dolphins I oberved were adult common dolphins _Delphinus
delphis_, two females and one male, about 2m length. All of them were in a
moderate stage of decomposition, inflated, and with some skin begining to
peel off the beak and, in one case, off the tail. There were no obvious
signs of wounds caused by harpoons, nets or lines.
The whale was stated to be about 2.6 - 3m in length, so it was likely a
minke whale's (_Balaenoptera acutorostra_) calve. I have requested to see
the video tape.
Such a large number of dead cetaceans is most uncommon here in the Azores,
therefore the public is concerned and the media keeps asking me about the
causes of the deaths, especially because large numbers of several species
of fish have also been found dead. The cause seems to be the cold, because
no other pathology is evident. The simultaneous deaths of the cetaceans and
the fish migth be just a coincidence, but...
           Jose' Manuel N. Azevedo
Departamento de Biologia, Universidade dos Acores
R. Mae de Deus, 9500 Ponta Delgada, Acores, Portugal
Phone: + 351 96 65 31 55; Fax + 351 96 65 34 55