Russian Submarine Sonars Blamed For Dolphin Deaths In Ukraine's Odesa Region

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Bottlenose dolphin
A baby bottlenose dolphin swims beside his mother at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo on July 20, 2015. Five California dolphins, including one bottlenose, recently washed ashore the California coastline.

An ecologist has claimed the death of some dolphins in Ukraine's Odesa region was likely caused by the sonar devices used by the Russian boats and submarines in the area.

The statement came after reports surfaced of four dead dolphins being found in the Tuzlivski Lymani [Tuzly Lagoon] National Nature Park and its surroundings.

According to Ivan Rusev, the cause of death of the dolphins could be the Russian warships.

"As a result of the use of sonar devices, powerful sounds are created that negatively affect the health of animals: dolphins fall into the radiation zone of ships' navigation devices, which disables the dolphins' navigation and echolocation organs," the ecologist said, according to Pravda.

Powerful explosions during bombardment in the region could have led to the dolphins suffering beneath the water. The sound may have damaged their hearing and organs, which may have resulted in navigation difficulty in dolphins. The expert also said the dolphins may have become practically "blind," which caused them to be stressed and panic.

"As a result, they hit all kinds of obstacles, including mines, and crash against rocks. And the main thing is that such 'paralysed' dolphins cannot catch fish and so they quickly get exhausted," Rusev explained.

Russian scientists, however, claimed the cause of the death of dolphins in the Black Sea could be infectious diseases and being trapped in nets. But, Rusev rejected the statement.

"During hostilities, infections are a secondary phenomenon. Healthy dolphins have a strong immune system and their death from infections is extremely rare. The main reason is military operations, " the ecologist said.

Since the war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24, scientists have recorded the deaths of at least 3,000 dolphins in the Black Sea. Rusev, who is studying marine life in the Black Sea, said at the time that "several thousands" of burnt and wounded dolphins washed up on the shores in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, and Georgia, Romania and Moldova.

The dolphins floating on the Black Sea coasts showed vivid burn marks from bombs or water mines.

However, International Business Times could not independently verify these claims.


Bottlenose dolphin

Photo: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images

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