NEW ORLEANS (CBSMiami/AP) — Bottlenose dolphins are stranding themselves at an unusually high rate in the Northern Gulf of Mexico including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

Authorities say more than 260 dolphins have stranded across the U.S. Gulf Coast since Feb. 1, triple the usual number.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say it’s too early to know the cause. But they’re investigating whether lingering effects from the 2010 oil spill and salinity changes from high rivers and a Louisiana spillway opening contributed.

NOAA says on its website that a number of the dolphins stranded from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had sores consistent with freshwater exposure, but those are common in the spring.

A Mississippi scientist says the spillway opening is at least partly to blame for 126 deaths across Mississippi’s coastline. Moby Solangi calls it worse than the BP spill. He says 91 dead dolphins were found in Mississippi during all of 2010.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

 

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