Russia’s war in Ukraine is not only killing civilians but defenseless animals as well.
Marine biologists and ecologists from countries in the Black Sea region are sounding the alarm, as dolphins die en masse for the fourth month in a row.
Ivan Rusev, an environmental scientist at Ukraine’s Tuzly Estuaries National Nature Park, estimates at least 5,000 dolphins have died in the Black Sea between March and July.
This number is three times higher compared to pre-war figures, according to Rusev.
Dolphins use echolocation, also known as sonar, to communicate, find food, and navigate. The constant underwater noise caused by submarines of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and their powerful hydrocollators, as well as explosions, is causing dolphins acoustic trauma, paralyzing this vital echolocation system.
As a result, dolphins are dying in higher numbers as they have trouble finding food and become susceptible to viruses and parasites due to weakened immune systems. As Russian warships use the Black Sea to fire missiles at Ukrainian territory, the decline is expected to continue, with devastating effects on the Black Sea ecosystem.
If before Russia’s all-out invasion on Feb. 24, biologists recorded traces of nets on the bodies of dead dolphins with their fins cut off by fishermen and poachers, now they are found untouched.
“I have never seen this before. This is something absolutely new and terrifying for scientists,” Rusev told the Kyiv Independent.
More than 5,000 dolphins die in Black Sea as a result of Russia’s warMore than 5,000 dolphins die in Black Sea as a result of Russia’s war