THE bodies of two whales and a dolphin have been found dead at the Estrecho National Park off the coast of Algeciras.

A striped dolphin and a pilot whale were found washed up on a beach near the Punta Carnera lighthouse on November 15. The cause of death of the two was asphyxiation after oil was found blocking the animals’ blow hole. Local ecologists blame the increase in shipping refuelling in the area on the deaths.

A spokesman for ecology group Verdemar-Ecologistas en Accion, Antonio Muñoz, has asked the Environment department of the Junta de Andalucía regional government to open an official investigation after an alleged 168 per cent increase in the amount of ships using the area to refuel in 2006.

“The animals were found covered in marine fuel. They died of asphyxiation as a consequence of their blow holes being blocked.

“Once again we are suffering from the effects of an increase in maritime traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar and the amount of ships refuelling,” he said.

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