Investigation into two dolphin mass stranding events in Iran
In the autumn of 2007 there were two dolphin mass stranding events, involving at least 2 species (spinner dolphins, Stenella longirostris, and striped dolphins, Stenella coeruleoalba) and 152 individuals, along the coast of Iran. Despite having 1700km of coastline the marine mammals of Iran are virtually unknown. The large response of the media, and some controversy regarding possible causes of the strandings, led the Iranian Department of the Environment, and the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) in the Persian Gulf to invite the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group to conduct an independent, retrospective, scientific investigation into the causes. The investigation team consisted of two CSG members – cetacean biologist Gill Braulik and veterinary pathologist Antonio Fernandez. The team visited Iran from 21-25 November 2007, toured the stranding locations, and collated and scrutinised information, photographs, biological samples and video recordings from each event.