Monday, May 7, 2012

Peruvian Government Urges Public to Stay Away from Beaches Where Mass Animal Deaths Occurred

Thousands of pelicans were discovered dead on a beach in Peru.

The Peruvian government has issued health alerts warning citizens and tourists alike to avoid a large stretch of beach on the country's Pacific coast, where a series of mass animal deaths have occurred.

The area witnessed a baffling mass dolphin beaching in early February, where more than 200 of the aquatic mammals mysteriously washed ashore dead. This was followed by an incident in late April, where more than a thousand dead or dying pelicans washed onto the exact same stretch of beach. In addition to the dolphin and pelican deaths, sea lions, boobies as well as several sea turtles were discovered dead. 

The Peruvian health ministry recommended people to stay away from the popular beaches, although it stopped short of a ban, and called on health officials to use gloves, masks and other protective gear when collecting dead birds or other animals from the region. The peak tourist season for the area is over, but many surfers head to the beaches to take advantage of the excellent surfing conditions throughout the year.

The agriculture ministry said preliminary tests on some dead pelicans pointed to malnourishment as a reason for their deaths. Oscar Dominguez, head of the ministry's health department, assured that scientists had ruled out bird flu as a possible cause of the mass deaths. 

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