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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Brazil. Dozens of dead stingrays on the beach. “Why did they only die?”

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The stingrays washed ashore in Rio de Janeiro. On Tuesday morning, townspeople found dozens of dead fish in an area where they shouldn’t be. Scientists were surprised by both the presence of animals in this part of the bay and the fact that only stingrays, not other species, were affected.

Dozens of stingrays washed ashore on the island of Ilha do Fundao in Rio de Janeiro. Protected individuals of a species Rhinoptera brasiliensis they lay limp on the sand or in the shallow coastal waters of Guanabara Bay. The first reports of dead fish were received by authorities on Tuesday morning.

Unsolved Mystery

As explained by Ricardo Gomes from the NGO Instituto Mar Urbano, which studies the fauna of Guanabara, the cause of death of the animals remains unexplained. Residents fear that the fish have been poisoned, but this hypothesis does not take into account one important fact.

– Why did they only die? If the water lacked oxygen or was contaminated with something, we would find dead fish of other species, but it was only stingrays, he told Reuters.

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Scientists are also puzzled by the very appearance of animals at this point in the bay. Environmental expert Isabela Delois explained that Ilha do Fundao is not a natural habitat for stingrays, and even local fishermen were surprised by their presence.

Dead stingrays in Rio de JaneiroReuters

Dead stingrays in Rio de JaneiroReuters

A blow for years

Another hypothesis is that the animals may have been accidentally caught in trawls – nets dragged behind ships, used for bulk fishing. If the crew saw dozens of protected fish in the net, they might decide to secretly beach them for fear of the punishment they would face when they docked.

Whatever the cause, the death of so many protected fish could seriously threaten the Guanabara stingray population. Among the dead individuals were several pregnant females, which is a particularly severe blow to the survival of the species.

– Pregnancy in stingrays lasts 19 months, sexual maturation is a matter of many years, and the number of offspring is low. If we eliminate the entire shoal, nature will need many years to recover from its losses, Gomes added.

Dead stingrays in Rio de JaneiroReuters

Dead stingrays in Rio de JaneiroReuters

Reuters, O Globo, O Liberal

Main photo source: Reuters

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