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Photo credit: Shav

Johannesburg, 26 August, 2020 – At least four dead and four ailing dolphins were found stranded this morning on Mauritius’ shores, one month after Japanese vessel MV Wakashio ran aground, causing an oil spill. An urgent investigation is needed to determine the cause of the strandings and if they are linked to the spill.

Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, said: “This is a deeply sad and alarming day for the people of Mauritius and for its singular biodiversity, itself known and appreciated by the worldwide biodiversity community. Greenpeace appeals to the authorities to carry out a swift, transparent and public autopsy on the bodies collected.”

On Monday, 24 August, Greenpeace Africa and Greenpeace Japan joined local human rights organisation Dis Moi in a letter to the Government of Mauritius, calling for greater transparency and accountability in their handling of the crisis and calling for three key investigations. The stranding of an extraordinary number of mammals this morning reinforces how urgent these demands are.

Vijay Naraidoo, co-director of Dis Moi, said: “The ocean is part of who we are. The whole country including coastal communities depend on its health. That is why many Mauritians woke up anguished and afraid that the oil spill may be killing it. Such biodiversity loss is an ominous development for what might come as a result of the oil spill.”

Cetaceans are already facing serious threats from climate change, plastic pollution, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and habitat loss. The long term impacts of the oil spill are yet to be determined, but will likely affect turtles, seabirds, and much of the marine life in the area.

Photo: Jenny, a volunteer in the Esperanza ship crew holds a banner in solidarity with Mauritius “There is no safe way to drill, transport and burn fossil fuels. They must be kept in the ground!”  © Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace

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Tal Harris, International Communications Coordinator, +221-774643195 (WhatsApp), [email protected]