Scientists are awaiting pathology results after 14 common dolphins stranded at Woody Cape Nature Reserve in the Eastern Cape last week. This is the second mass stranding on the same stretch of coastline in 12 months.
Four of the 14 dolphins managed to be returned to the ocean. The dolphins are off shore species.
“The thought is that they come into an environment that they are not familiar with. It is possible that their echo-location, they navigate by echo-location. So the signals they give out by echo-location are unable to interpret those signals, and they possibly come to close to shore. One of them may end up on the beach then they will call on assistance and because of their strong social bonds, the rest may follow,” says Dr Greg Hofmeyr, curator of Marine Mammals at Bayworld.
This is the sixth stranding in the same area since 1977.
“Why they are here at this time of the year it is possible that the sardine run may be starting soon and the common dolphins are known for following the ardine run up the South African coast and possibly they are coming into the bay to find these sources of food,” adds Hofmeyer.
In 2016 Algoa Bay was declared the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the world.
According to scientific research done in the 1990s, it is home to over 20 000 of common dolphins. The bay is also used by other species.
Watch video below: