Scientists scrutinize rise in baby dolphin deaths
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Scientists are trying to figure out what killed 53 bottlenose dolphins - many of them babies - so far this year in the Gulf of Mexico, as five more of their carcasses washed up Thursday in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
It's likely to be months before they get back lab work showing what caused the spontaneous abortions, premature births, deaths shortly after birth and adult deaths said Blair Mase, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's stranding coordinator for the Gulf Coast
Although scientists are investigating whether the deaths are related to last year's huge BP oil spill, they say toxins from oil or chemicals used to disperse it are considered a less likely cause than cold or disease. That's because only one species of dolphin - and no other kind of animal - is dying, and because the calf deaths appear concentrated in Mississippi and Alabama rather than Gulf-wide.