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Why Did Dozens Of Dolphins Die In Argentina?

Scientists are investigating why 68 dolphins — most of which were dead —washed ashore this week in the central province of Chubut.

The dolphin deaths are still very much a mystery
The dolphin deaths are still very much a mystery
Carlos Guajardo

PUERTO MADRYN — Were they sick? Were they chased ashore by hungry orcas? Those are two of the theories scientists are considering following the discovery this week of nearly 70 beached dolphins — many of them already dead — near Puerto Madryn in central Argentina's Chubut province.

For now, though, the dolphin deaths are still very much a mystery. "We don't know for certain what caused this dolphin stranding," Mariano Coscarella, a researcher at the government scientific agency CENPAT told Clarín. "We don't have enough clues to really clarify the matter yet."

Coscarella said that he and his colleagues counted 68 common dolphins in total. Together they managed to return 19 to the water. The rest died. The CENPAT researcher also said the animals appeared intact. Adding to the mystery is that this is the first such mass stranding ever recorded in the Golfo Nuevo, as the water around Puerto Madryn is known.

The scientists plan to perform necropsies on the corpses. Hopefully that'll provide additional clues. One of Coscarella's CENPAT colleagues, Silvana Dans, isn't ruling out the possibility that the dolphins were "corralled" by killer whales and thus pushed off course — and ultimately onshore.

"We know from other cases studied that there could have been a pursuit by orcas," said Dans. "The dolphins could have felt trapped." Another hypothesis, given that the dead dolphins are part of a single group is that they were victims of "some kind of epidemic," she added.

The CENPAT researchers were also surprised to find such a large batch of common dolphins. "That's unusual here," said Dans, who explained that the more prevalent species in the area is the dusky dolphin.

Whatever the cause, the scientists will have to be patient. The necropsies and other tests are expected to take several weeks.

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Murder Of Giulia Cecchetin: Why Italy Is Finally Saying 'Basta' To Violence Against Women

Cecchettin was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in northern Italy, a murder case that has quickly turned into a political movement. The supposed motive is chilling in what it says about the current state of male-dominated society.

 Girls seen screaming during the protest under the rain.

November 25, Messina, Italy: The feminist movement Non Una di Meno (Not One Less) gathered in Messina in the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Valeria Ferraro/ZUMA
Annalisa Camilli

Updated Nov. 27, 2023 at 3:40 p.m.


ROME — On November 11, Giulia Cecchettin and her ex-boyfriend Filippo Turetta went missing after meeting for dinner. For a week, Italians followed the case in hopes that the story would end with two lovers returning home after going on an adventure — but women knew better.

As the days went by, more details of their relationship started to come to light. Filippo had been a jealous, possessive boyfriend, he had not dealt with Giulia's decision to break up very well, and he constantly hounded her to get back together.

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When Giulia's body was found at the bottom of a lake in the northern region of Veneto, with 20 stab wounds, Italians were not surprised, but they were fed up. Vigils, demonstrations and protests spread throughout the country: Giulia Cecchettin's death, Italy's 105th case of femicide for the year 2023, finally opened a breach of pain and anger into public opinion. But why this case, why now?

It was Elena Cecchettin, Giulia's sister, who played a vital role. At the end of a torchlight procession, the 24-year-old university student took the floor and did something people weren't expecting: she turned private grief into a political movement. Elena distanced herself from the role of the victim and took on the responsibility for a future change.

"Filippo is not a monster; a monster is an exception, someone external to society, someone society should not take responsibility for. But here that responsibility exists," she said confidently, leaving everyone breathless.

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