Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish

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FLIPPER END: Dead dolphins are not uncommon at this time of year.

A TOTAL of four dead dolphins have washed up on Malaga’s beaches this week, with the latest appearing on Los Rubios de Torre de Benagalbon beach on Monday, August 29.

Since Thursday, August 25, individuals have also been recovered from Mezquitilla-Lagos in Velez-Malaga, plus Baños del Carmen and La Araña in Malaga City.

Juan Jose Castillo, a veterinarian at the Aula del Mar Museum, says that the numbers are not unusual, with between 40 and 80 of the cetaceans appearing along the Costa del Sol each year.

However, many female dolphins wean their calves in August and September, which can cause an increase in the number of juvenile specimens killed.

Dolphin numbers have declined drastically in the Mediterranean, with thousands wiped out during epizootic (temporarily prevalent) outbreaks of a particular viral infection throughout 1990-1992 and 2007-2008.

The latter mass die-offs are thought to have been provoked by an immunity decrease caused by the population’s increased exposure throughout time to environmental pollutants and heavy metals obtained by eating contaminated fish.

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