Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put the entire Black Sea basin under “enormous threat,” according to a report that says more than 700 dolphins and porpoises have died in the region since the conflict began.
The recent report released by ACCOBAMS – or the Agreement to Conserve Whales of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Adjoining Atlantic Basin – warns that military activities in the region are affecting marine life in the region, including cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoises.
Over 700 fatalities, mainly dolphins and porpoises, have been recorded on the shores of the Black Sea countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.
A previous report by Ivan Rusev, research director of Ukraine’s Tuzla Estuaries National Nature Park, had also warned that the marine mammals would wash up on the Black Sea coast.
Experts believe some of these increased strandings of dolphins are a direct result of the loud noises caused by warfare.
dr Rusev also posted pictures to Facebook in June showing dolphins washed ashore with injuries they say were war-related, including bomb burn marks.
Because these marine mammals rely heavily on sound to navigate and communicate with each other underwater, experts have warned that the sounds of warfare could be disruptive to them, thus disorienting them and preventing them from finding food.
“In addition to marine pollution, it is also known that intense ship noise and low-frequency sonars pose serious threats to marine wildlife, particularly dolphins that use sound-activated pathways,” Turkey’s Marine Research Foundation said in a statement in April, raising an alarm about the war’s impact on marine ecosystems of the region.
An international team of over 100 scientists estimated last year that there could be nearly a quarter of a million dolphins in the Black Sea.
However, it is not known how many of these are still in the region.
Because of the mines in the area, it has also been difficult to gather more information on how many dolphins are left and how these marine mammals are being affected by the conflict.
“All Black Sea experts are trying to collect data and samples to find out the cause of these Black Sea deaths. Also, in some areas, boat surveys have been difficult due to the potential danger from floating mines,” the report said.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/over-700-dolphins-may-have-died-in-the-black-sea-since-russias-ukraine-invasion-report-says-42118221.html According to reports, over 700 dolphins may have died in the Black Sea since the Russian invasion of Ukraine