Scientists along the U.S. gulf coast say that the dolphin death rate is now three times the normal rate. Most of the 279 bottlenose dolphins stranded along the gulf in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana since Feb. 1 have died, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said, according to NBC News. Scientists studying the carcasses say lesions consistent with freshwater exposure point to recent Midwest flooding. They also suspect the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which has had devastating long-term effects on marine life. “[Dolphin] reproduction in some of the heaviest oiled areas continues to be abnormal,” Teri Rowles, coordinator for NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program told NBC News.
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