The mass deaths come as the region is experiencing a record-breaking drought
More than 100 dolphins have been discovered dead in the Brazilian Amazon in the past seven days as the waters have overheated.
Brazilian scientific research facility Mamirauá Institute said that the deceased dolphins were found in Lake Tefé, located in the northern part of the country, indicating life-threatening conditions for the sealife there.
The mass dolphin deaths come as the water temperatures have surpassed a record-breaking 102 Fahrenheit in the region amid a severe drought.
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Mamirauá Institute told CNN Brasil following the discovery, “It’s still early to determine the cause of this extreme event but according to our experts, it is certainly connected to the drought period and high temperatures in Lake Tefé, in which some points are exceeding 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit).”
Volunteers have come together to attempt to save the dolphins that haven’t yet perished as they take them out of the overheated shallow waters and place them in the center of the river, which is cooler, CNN Brasil reported.
The transportation process has been difficult though, due to inaccessibility of the area, and bears other risks, a researcher shared with outlet.
“Transferring river dolphins to other rivers is not that safe because it’s important to verify if toxins or viruses are present [before releasing the animals into the wild],” André Coelho told CNN Brasil.
Thousands of fish have also been found dead in rivers running through the Amazon rainforest, due to the rising temperatures. The rotting of fish has contaminated the water as a result, affecting drinking and food supplies.
The Amazon drought has caused water levels to sink below average in 59 districts in the area, impacting transportation, fishing activities, and the economy as businesses are struggling to get by in the conditions.
Caroline Silva Dos Santos, a shop worker in the Brazilian city of Manacapuru, told Sky News, "It is difficult because of the contamination of the water, we need a lot of it to bathe. And we also drink the water, but because it is contaminated we're not drinking it. We're getting water by bringing it from the city."
According to CNN Brasil, authorities expect more droughts in the Amazon over the next few weeks, possibly causing more dolphin deaths, among other negative impacts.
"I think it is already a reflection as to what may be the new normal that we are going to be facing in the future,” Ane Alencar, science director at the Institute for Amazonian Environmental Research, told Sky News.
"People will lose their goods, homes, cattle. We usually neglect the impacts of drought on human life and health."
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