Since the beginning of 2023, 36 bottlenose dolphins listed in the Red Book have been found washed ashore in the occupied Crimea. A total of 77 dead cetaceans have been found on the Crimean coast.
Blinded by sonars and explosions, the animals become disoriented and cannot catch fish, which results in death from starvation.
Environmental biologists estimate at least 3,000 animals to have died during the first six months of the full-fledged war.
Researchers believe that, while the most concerning factor causing the death of dolphins in the North-East Black Sea over the previous years was fishing nets, including those used by poachers, the discoveries of dead dolphins washed ashore in the Tuzly Lagoons National Nature Park and in other Black Sea countries, including Russia, "are astounding due to their tremendous number as compared to the same period in previous years."
"And the main reason is that this is a murderous war waged by Russian fascists not only against us Ukrainians but also against the most intelligent creatures of the wildlife, dolphins. Powerful sonars and explosions destroy the gentle navigation system of the animals, and such "blinded" dolphins die of starvation, unable to catch any fish to eat. In addition, infections activate in their weakened bodies, which also results in their death," says Doctor of Science Ivan Rusev, head of the research department at the Tuzly Lagoons National Nature Park.
He noted that Ukrainian researchers are still receiving reports of dead dolphins from Bulgaria and Romania and are analyzing available publications in open sources from different Black Sea countries.