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What's Causing Dolphin Deaths On Gulf Coast?

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Poor Dolphin

Make it stop!

Marine scientists are debating whether 80-plus bottlenose dolphins found dead along the U.S. Gulf Coast since January were more likely to have perished from last year's massive oil spill or a winter cold snap.

The death toll along 200 miles of shoreline has climbed to at least 82, many times the normal mortality rate for dolphins along the Gulf Coast this time of year.

The die-off has come at the start of the first dolphin calving season in the northern Gulf since the BP blowout.

But scientists at the independent Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama suggested on Thursday that unusually chilly water temperatures in the Gulf may be a key factor.

A senior scientist at the Dauphin Island lab said:

"Everyone wants to blame toxicity due to the oil spill. The oil spill … very well could have been the cause of the dolphin deaths. But the cold weather could have been the last straw for these animals."

Other scientists discount the cold weather theory - saying dolphins can leave cold waters to seek warmer areas.

Hopefully soon we will know the cause, and prevent further death.

[Image via AP Images.]

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