Mystery of dead dolphins washing up on Costa del Sol beaches baffles experts

Common dolphins Bay of Gibraltar

Mystery of dead dolphins washing up on Costa del Sol beaches baffles experts. Credit: Radekostojski78 CC

Eleven dolphins have washed up dead on Costa del Sol beaches in the last month

In the last month, eleven dead dolphins have been discovered washed up on beaches along the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain. It is an occurrence that has left environmentalists and experts completely puzzled.
With the current crisis in Eastern Europe, Spanish military naval ships and submarines have been conducting manoeuvres along the Spanish coastline, or even simply passing through, but they will be using sonar devices. There is speculation that these devices could interfere with a dolphin’s sense of direction.
Others are wondering if some type of mystery virus has killed them. In 2007, and again in 2015, a virus was responsible for the death of many dolphins in other parts of the Mediterranean coast.
Dead dolphins have been washed up on beaches in the popular holiday resorts of Torremolinos, Marbella, Nerja, Estepona, and Malaga. One was a seven-year-old female, found to be pregnant. No obvious signs of injury have been detected in any of the deceased mammals.
The last of the dead creatures was found on La Araña beach, to the east of the city of Malaga. A spokesperson for CREMA, at Aula del Mar in Malaga, the centre that deals with the recovery of endangered marine species, said they are hoping to learn more when the autopsy results come back. Tests that were carried out on the other dead dolphins have apparently been inconclusive.
Persistent storms along the coastal areas of the Costa del Sol this month have also been highlighted as another possible cause of death. Experts point out that dolphins breathe by putting their heads out of the water.
When the sea is too rough, and the creature is maybe tired, or sick, then they struggle to fight the waves. Their instinct then is to head for calmer waters near the shore, where it’s possible they might become beached by accident, as reported by


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at