A fatal skin disease in dolphins due to the climate crisis

A fatal skin disease in dolphins due to the climate crisis

Last updated 14:44

Dolphins off the coast of the United States, South America and Australia are more likely to suffer from a fatal skin disease than in the past. A skin injury that is comparable to a severe burn occurs due to exposure to fresh water. The skin lesion also causes other diseases in animals: it becomes infected with bacterial and fungal infections.

Although dolphins can live in fresh water for a short period of time, long-term exposure results in severe skin damage. This long-term exposure occurs, for example, after a heavy rain. This has happened regularly in recent years due to the climate crisis. Knack wrote:

The increasing number of hurricanes and intense hurricanes means that extraordinary amounts of rainwater end up at sea. This mainly occurs when the drought period precedes a storm. Rainwater turns coastal waters into fresh water.

This phenomenon was first recognized in 2005, when dolphins were trapped in brackish waters in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Since then, there have been many reports of dolphin populations being affected after heavy rains.

Dolphins with dermatological diseases die a slow painful death. “Their skin is just as sensitive as ours, and maybe even more sensitive,” researcher Nahid Stephens told the Guardian.

Photo cc: Brenda Fink

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