The number of deceased dolphins discovered in Grand Sable, Mauritius have risen to 40, reports from the country say.
Carcasses of the mammals were discovered near an area where a Japanese boat sank, spilling oil into the sea.
A witness, Reuben Pillay, described the moment one mother dolphin died in front of him. According to him, residents who had ventured out in a boat informed him of a mother dolphin swimming around her dying baby. He sped off to try to find them; the baby had died by the time he arrived, he said, but the mother initially looked normal.
“But in a few minutes she went on her side, one fin in the water, and one out of the water and then she started flapping her tail really really rapidly,” said Pillay who described the moment as heartwrenching..
“She swam in circles in front of the boat, she moved her tail very violently and after about five minutes she just stopped moving, and she sunk … We heard cries, I thought it was a woman on the boat – but they told me, no – it was the dolphin.”
As they watched, the mother stopped moving and eventually slowly sank, tail first, beneath the waves. The body of the baby floated on the surface.
The dolphins have been dying in tens around an area where a Japanese ship, the MV Wakashio, struck a coral reef in July.
On Thursday, Greenpeace called on the government of Mauritius to launch an “urgent investigation to determine the cause of the deaths and any ties to the Wakashio oil spill”.
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