During research in the Black Sea, scientists said “several thousand” dolphins may have died in the region during Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Ivan Rusev, director of research at Ukraine’s Tuzla Estuaries National Nature Park, said in a Facebook post that marine mammals are adrift along the Black Sea coastline, which borders several countries, including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania, The Independent reported.
Photos shared by Rusev showed dolphins stranded ashore with injuries he claimed were related to the war, including burn marks from bombs. Marine mammals continue to drift along the coast with burns from bombs and landmines, as well as internal injuries, and also show signs of starvation, the scientist said.
“I emphasize once again that in recent weeks there have been serious losses in the battle between dolphins in the Black Sea,” Rusev said, noting that “several thousand” dolphins died in the middle of the war in Ukraine, based on data collected by his team and other researchers in Europe.
“In the available data collected by us during the three months of the war on the shore of our national park, we assume that thousands of dolphins have died since its inception, due to the brutal and crazy war in the Black Sea,” Rusev said.
Last year, an international team of more than 100 scientists said they estimated there could be about a quarter of a million dolphins in the Black Sea. However, it is not known how many of these dolphins remain in the area.