Monday, February 13, 2012

Dolphin Dead in N. Peru but not 240

Photo of dolphin meat by Dr. Carlos Yaipen Llanos
By Dr. Carlos Yaipen-Llanos reporting to BlueVoice

I just returned last night from the stranding site. Several key findings. I traveled with the personnel of Reuters International (Press Agency) and it is going to be a press release tomorrow. I am on the paperwork for a denounce (report) to the Ecological Police of Peru too. Despite it was a one-day-round trip, it was enough to assess the situation. I will try to describe in detail our findings. Definitively, we have to go back because too many lives (both human and animals) are at stake.

1. The species affected are not bottlenose dolphins as depicted in the media, but Long beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis). We found adult males, females, pregnant females, juveniles and calves.

2. There were not 260+ stranded dolphins. In our survey over 100 Kms between San Jose and Morrope in Lambayeque State, we just found 17 dolphins.

3. A pod of over 150 Delphinus capensis was sighted during the survey, surfacing and feeding in coastal waters, 150+ meters inshore. So, it is a fact that the dolphins LIVE in the area and it is critical for their
breeding behaviour, that will justify the high presence of babies.

4. The stranding started last Thrusday (Feb 9th). However, at 5pm on the 11th, a juvenile dolphin stranded right in front of us (there is an online
picture of the dolphin with blood by the ear-eye).

5. I don't think this mass stranding is related to the earthquakes as stated in some media for two reasons:
a. The Delphinus capensis migrate from Costa Rica to the Central Pacific to northern Peru, to far away from the epicenter of any of the latest earthquakes (around 1000 km difference).
b. Since there are not 200+ stranded dolphins, the problematic is more "focalized" to a local issue.

6. There were no fish of any kind stranded sea animal next to the dolphins. Anchovies were reported floating in the water last week by the media and govenrment officials, but we found no evidence of fish species being affected at this point. Fishermen were fishing flying fish in the area with no problem.

7. As far as we know, the Imarpe (Institute for the Sea of Peru) took samples for analysis. However, in our survey no dolphin showed signs of necropsy or sample collection, just slaughtering from fishermen. I always
check this in the animals to have a bigger picture of what the authorities are looking for (and if they have any clue at all).

8. There was no evidence of carcass collection in 100 kms long, including within the town of San Jose were fishermen and children are in the beach covered of trash and the carcasses of death dolphins (most of them
slaughtered). There was also no evidence of ocean tide removing carcasses because we found several dolphins located far into the high tide, there since last Thrusday.

9. As you know, in January 21st this year, a previous survey performed in Colan, Piura State (300Km north of San Jose). We assessed nine baby common dolphins and a new born porpoise with acute gastric syndrome and signs of immune-suppression / toxicity, but next to them, hundreds of fish corresponding to both bentic species such as morena fish, clams and needle fish, and pelagic fish like species that match the living sustrate of the common dolphin and the black porpoise. We also found large stains of oil compounds in water and sand by that time for our diagnose
was bio-accumulation under the frame of some sort of hydrocarbon flux to the sea in that area. Basically, long term pollution exposure.

10. In previous survey we collected samples of a baby porpoise for histopathology. In this survey, we collected samples from the juvenile common dolphin: Periotic bones and main organs. This dolphin was
immune-suppressed, since it has a severe infection, abscesses and signs of pox in the skin. I also sampled key tissues to discard the potential presence of viral diseases such as distemper through histopathology. I
certainly believe the common dolphin pods are suffering of long-term pollution exposition, leading them towards immune suppression symdromes that will be more evident in the forthcoming years.

11. Now Hardy, what we found in this mass stranding is that 10 of the 17 animals found dead had broken periotic bones, that is, due to acoustic impact. The source of the impact was from the right side of the pod, since hemorragic internal ear was found in the right side of the stranded animals.

12. We know that the use of dynamite is common among fishermen, and that fishermen are taking the meat of the stranded dolphins. This could be the cause of death of the animals...however, the signs do not correspond to that of explosive impact in their bodies. We talked today with people from the oil company and they say they haven't performed any seismic exploration in the area this month. However, here in Peru these companies
doesn't need to do the seismic assessment themselves.

13. ORCA has a wide registration of dolphin slaughtering in San Jose, as well as dolphin meat consumption and a high incidence of diabetes among
the human population that has dolphin meat in its diet.

It is our next step to go back to San Jose and vecinities to collect more information and samples for the pollution assessment. We can save it in
storage until the equipment is available. This is critical for both animal and human health.

Hope you find this information helpful.



Dr. Carlos Yaipen-LLanos
President - Science Director

Organization for Research and Conservation of Aquatic Animals
Facebook: Orca Peru

How Ocean Pollutants Lead to Obesity, Diabetes and Larger Breasts

by Hardy Jones

Women's breasts are larger than they used to be. For a while I thought it was just a change among younger women. But then it became clear to me that the same phenomenon had emerged in women of more mature ages. My weekly trip to surf a nude beach north of San Francisco clinched it.

A quick run around the Internet confirmed what my eyes were telling me. According to Britain's The Daily Mirror, no stranger to alluring photos of fetchingly undraped lassies, the average bra size in the UK is now 36C, up from 34B ten years ago. And the paper reports Marks & Spencer will stock J-cup bras for the first time. Formerly the largest cup size was a G. Similar figures are found in the United States. The average bra size has gone from 36C to 36DD over the past five years.

I realize some of the increase in breast size is intentional. Cosmetic implants are ever more popular. The contraceptive pill has been linked to increasing breast size. And larger breasts may simply be the result of the simple fact that people are eating more food and more fattening food and so carrying more overall weight than they have historically.

So why is a writer/ocean conservationist who specializes in marine mammals and ocean toxicity turning his attention to bra sizes? I'm a man and hard wired to notice such things but that's not why I'm writing about this.

The answer lies in my studies of the relationship between the super feminization of women (and feminization of men) and consumption of foods that contain estrogen-imitating chemicals. Classes of chemicals called persistent organic pollutants (POPs) mimic the effects of estrogen in the mammalian body. Some of these POPs are familiar to many -- PCBs and PBDEs, flame retardants and coolants in transformers, electric motors, computers, even baby clothing. Another, still persistent in the environment after 35 years off the U.S. and European markets, is DDT and its metabolite DDE. The more you eat of foods containing these and similar chemicals, the more of the estrogen imitating compounds are ingested, significantly altering the body's hormonal balance. POPs are lipophilic; that is to say, attracted to fat. These chemicals, that arrive via the wind and waters are stored in the fat of animals and fish.
My area of concentration has been with this phenomenon in the marine environment. POPs are bio-magnified up the food chain so that someone eating a large fish will ingest far more contamination that when eating smaller fish. The tests BlueVoice and others have done on dolphins, feeding at the apex of the oceanic food chain, show high levels of POPs in their tissues virtually worldwide with variation depending on size of prey fish and location.

The larger breast phenomenon is only the tip of this chemical iceberg. Serious illness and disruption of mammalian immune systems are additional byproducts of these chemicals. Obesity and diabetes have been directly connected to them as well. Recent studies on animals (tests I almost always oppose) show evidence of a link between POP exposure and insulin resistance syndrome, metabolic disorders that include type 2 diabetes (EHP 118:465-471; Ruzzin et al.) A highly alarming correlate is that obese and diabetic individuals have a far higher risk of getting cancer than people with lean physiques. A critical factor is that POPs are absorbed in fatty tissues. Ironically when obese persons lose weight they flood their blood and tissues with the POPs previously bound in fat. This is especially dangerous on a crash diet.

I was diagnosed in 2003 with multiple myeloma, a disease that has been linked to high levels of toxins. In 2005 I had myself tested for POPs and the levels were, in some cases, extremely high. The reason for my accumulation of these chemicals appears to be that during the late 1990s I ate large quantities of tuna and swordfish as well as other fish. In 1997 I had been diagnosed with chronic mercury poisoning. Again, best guess is the culprit was large predatory fish. The mercury levels came down within six-months of taking large fish off the menu. The POPs have half-lives of eight to 15 years and take decades to fully clear.

Today, through in collaboration with Elsa Nature Conservancy in Japan, I test dolphin meat for chemical pollutants. We virtually always find high levels of both POPs and heavy metals such as mercury. We publish these results both to educate human consumers of fish and to argue that eating dolphin meat, with the high contaminant levels, is a health hazard. We hope this will drive down demand for dolphin meat in Japan and worldwide.

It is not only the females of species that are affected. In mammals as diverse as alligators, polar bears and human beings high levels of estrogen imitating POPs correlate with decreased sperm counts, reduced volume and quality of semen, depressed levels of the male hormone testosterone, and high levels of estrogens in both males and females. Reproductive failure in mammals including humans has reached alarming levels.

The impact of these chemicals does not stop with the immediate consumer. Women who inadvertently include PCBs in their diet pass them to their children in fat rich breast milk. The role of environmental chemicals in obesity is emerging from the realm of speculation to hard science. And more studies are in the works. The Presidential Task Force on Childhood Obesity and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Strategic Plan recently acknowledged the problem. In 2011 the NIH launched a three-year effort to fund research exploring the role of environmental chemical exposures in obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and metabolic disorders.

These studies and action to reverse the conversion of the world's waterways into chemical soups cannot come too soon. In the meantime there are steps you can take: choose fish that are no larger than an average dinner plate and trim away fat. Avoid farm-raised fish. They contain high levels of POPs. Choose lean cuts of meat and trim fat. Do not cook with lard or by frying.

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