Whale deaths near Gibraltar 'caused by pollution'
21 February 2007, GIBRALTAR - Scientists and ecologists claimed on Wednesday a high number of pilot whales are dying in the Straits of Gibraltar because of contaminated seas.
21 February 2007
GIBRALTAR - Scientists and ecologists claimed on Wednesday a high number of pilot whales are dying in the Straits of Gibraltar because of contaminated seas.
In the past three months, six animals have died and their corpses have been discovered on the beaches of southern Spain.
The World Wildlife Fund/Adena and CIRCE, a group of sciencists studies whales, said this could be due to crude oil spills from ships.
They called for urgent action to stop this "grave problem" getting any worse.
According to the Centre for the Recovery of Threatened Maritime Species in Andalusia, all the whales were adults and in good health.
They believe there are about 260 adult pilot whales in the Straits of Gibraltar.
A study is being carried out by the centre with the help of the University of Sienna in Italy into the cause of their deaths.
Scientists will measure the levels of hydrocarbons, heavy metals and other toxins in the bodies of the whales.
Renaud de Stephanis, president of CIRCE, said: "Pilot whales are very sensitive to any type of contamination and this could be the cause of their deaths, but we are not sure yet."
Each year, 90,000 boats cruise through the Straits of Gibraltar, many spilling oil and other materials into the seas.
Pilot whales typically measure 6 metres, weigh over 2 tonnes and are known as one of a threatened whale species.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news