NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities say at least 279 dolphins have stranded across the U.S. Gulf Coast since Feb. 1, triple the usual number.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say 98% died.
They said during a teleconference Friday that they're investigating whether lingering effects from the 2010 oil spill and low salinity from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway opening contributed.
One said more than one-fifth of the dolphins stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had sores consistent with freshwater exposure. NOAA's website says such lesions are common in the spring.