An Alarming Number of Dead Dolphins Are Washing Up on Black Sea Due to Russian War
Reports of mass die-offs of Black Sea’s dolphins have been a major concern between February and mid-May off the Turkish coast. Scientists say that Russian-Ukraine war is responsible for the recent crisis on the coastline of the Black Sea bordering several countries, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania.
According to WION, the dolphins may be dying in Black Sea due to large Ukraine and Russian warships, disrupting the dolphins’ communication pattern.
(Photo : Photo: Yale Cohen / Unsplash)
Several thousands of the marine mammals are continuing to wash up on the coastlines with burns from bombs and landmines, internal injuries, and signs of starvation, the Independent reported.
“I emphasize once again that there have been serious casualties of the war among dolphins in the Black Sea in recent weeks,” Ivan Rusev, research director at Ukraine’s Tuzla Estuaries National Nature Park announced in a Facebook post, along with pictures of them washed up ashore with “war-related injuries, including burn marks from bombs.”
Effects of the War on the Marine Ecosystem
Dr Rusev and other researchers across Europe collected data during the three months of war on the coast, including materials of fresh open publications from Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, as well as personal messages from foreign friends and colleagues.
“We assume that due to the cruel and insane war of racists in the Black Sea, from the beginning of the war until now, several thousand dolphins have already died,” Dr Rusev said, noting that not only civilized people were killed during the war but the smart dolphins as well.
An estimate from an international team of more than 100 scientists shows that there were about a quarter of a million dolphins in the Black Sea. However, they are unsure how many of them are left in the region now.
In a press release from the Turkish marine research foundation, it said: “Due to the war between Russia and Ukraine, biodiversity, marine, food and environmental security are under threat in the Black Sea. TUDAV proposes a regional monitoring program to examine the current and future adverse effects of war on the marine environment.”
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Aggravating Damages Caused by the War to the Marine Ecosystem
Scientists also blame increased noise pollution and sonar noise emitted from warships, and the alleged mining in the Black Sea region. “The port towns of Mariupol, Berdyansk and Odessa have witnessed increased Russian military activity in recent weeks with sea-based transportation coming to a standstill in the Black Sea,” WION reported.
The “intense ship noise and low-frequency sonars” interfere with the dolphins’ main means of communication, consequently causing serious threat to their species. Dolphins generally use sound-activated ways and disruptive underwater noises may either have them end up losing their way in large fishing nets or around the shores.
In addition, the amount of oil leaked from the ship, which was hit by a missile and sank off Mariupol, pollutes the air as toxic gases are released into the atmosphere and will then reach the land or sea with the rain.
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