The Indian Express , 20 February 2006

Mysterious death of eight whales in Mexico

MEXICO CITY, FEB 19 : Mexican authorities are investigating the mysterious deaths of eight whales found washed ashore along the Sea of Cortez last month, suggests someone or something is killing them off.

The whales come from plankton-eating species and apparently died at sea in November and December, biologists said. But they do not show any signs of having been caught in fishing nets, which sometimes suffocate the mammoth animals. Nor have biologists found any signs of a toxic spill or outbreak of disease that would account for their deaths.

“Right now it’s a mystery,” said Luis Fueyo, an assistant Federal Prosecutor for Environmental Crimes, who is overseeing the investigation. “We have a puzzle.”

The first sign of something wrong came on January 4, when the remains of two humpback whales were spotted on the shore near El Dorado in Culiacan State. Scientists are determined they had died in November. Since then, six more bodies have turned up, among them a third humpback, a minke whale, a fin whale and a baby gray whale. The bodies were discovered on January18 in the Sinaloa coast. —NYT