Death of 10 dolphins under investigation

28 May 2003
By Associated Press

CONSTANTA, Romania Romanian authorities are investigating the mysterious death of 10
dolphins that washed up on the shores near a Danube Delta village, a government official
said Tuesday.

The government-appointed head of the delta, Virgil Munteanu, said the dolphins, which are a
protected species, were found May 20 on a beach about 35 kilometers (22 miles) south of
the village of Sfantu Gheorghe. The area is located at the mouth of the Danube River, which
flows into the Black Sea.

Munteanu said it wasn't clear what had killed the dolphins, but autopsies were planned.

Lucian Ionescu, the director of Mare Nostrum, one of Romania's largest
environmental groups, suspected the dolphins died as a result of military exercises
that took place in the area until a month ago. The exercises were carried out by the Romanian
army and involved live ammunition. They were suspended following protests by ecologists.

There are only 2,000 dolphins in the Black Sea, down from 1 million in
the 1940s, according to international environment statistics.

Last year, Turkish fishers were convicted and fined after authorities
found two dozen dolphins tangled in their nets.

Source: Associated Press