400 Dead Dolphins Found Off African Coast – Yahoo! News
ZANZIBAR, Tanzania – Hundreds of dead dolphins washed up Friday along the shore of a popular tourist destination on Zanzibar’s northern coast, and scientists ruled out poisoning. It was not immediately clear what killed the 400 dolphins, whose carcasses were strewn along a 2 1/2-mile stretch of Nungwi, said Narriman Jidawi, a marine biologist at the Institute of Marine Science in Zanzibar. But the bottleneck dolphins, which live in deep offshore waters, had empty stomachs, meaning that they could have been disoriented and were swimming for some time to reorient themselves. They did not starve to death and were not poisoned, Jidawi said.
In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from U.S. submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Fla., where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March 2005.
A U.S. Navy task force patrols the East Africa coast as part of counterterrorism operations. A Navy official was not immediately available for comment, but the service rarely comments on the location of submarines at sea.
A couple of years ago I went to a lecture on marine mammal hearing, part of the Lowell Lecture series associated with the New England Aquarium. It was very informative. The question was raised about the loudness of cruise ship engines and how that might interfere with the sonar communications of marine mammals, specifically whales and dolphins, lowering the chances of mating and perhaps even separating and disorienting whole pods.