Photo: Peru Ministry of Health
Peru has declared a health alert on its northern beaches after at least 1,200 dead birds, mostly pelicans, washed up along the coastline in recent weeks, Reuters reports.While the government has not completely closed the beaches, the alert asks residents and tourists to stay off the beaches while officials in protective gear investigate the unexplained incident, according to CNN. The alert added that officials had so far checked 18 beaches in and around the capital Lima, but gave no further details.
The incident follows the deaths of thousands of dolphins in the same region — extending from Punta Negra, in Piura, to San José, in the state of Lambayeque — last month. While some believed deep sea oil exploration caused that, Peruvian Deputy Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria told CNN the dolphins may have been infected with Morbillivirus or Brucella bacteria.
Oscar Dominguez, head of the agriculture ministry’s health department, said experts had ruled out bird flu, and were looking at malnourishment as a possible cause: a shift in ocean currents may have moved rich shoals of anchovy away from the coastline, leaving the birds without enough food, according to the BBC.
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