The Peruvian Sea Institute, or Imarpe, will investigate the deaths of hundreds of seabirds in northern Peru, the Production Ministry said.
Imarpe personnel have conducted a preliminary inspection along a 70-kilometer (43-mile) stretch of beaches around San Jose Bay, located in Lambayeque region, counting 538 dead pelicans and 54 dead boobies.
“These birds were in different stages of decomposition, with the majority recent,” the ministry said.
“They did not show evidence of having been washed up dead by the sea. The mortality appeared to have occurred on the beach,” the ministry said in a statement.
Tests will be conducted on the dead birds “to reassure residents and fishermen along the coast,” the ministry said.
Peruvian media reported Saturday that hundreds of dead seabirds had been found along a 200-kilometer (124-mile) stretch of beaches in the Piura and Lambayeque regions over the past few days.
The reports prompted fishermen and environmentalists to call on officials to investigate the deaths of the pelicans and other seabirds.
Hundreds of dolphins have been found stranded in northern Peru since January for unknown reasons, environmentalist Heinz Plengue said.
A number of possible causes, ranging from a virus to mining exploration in the Pacific Ocean, may be responsible for the deaths of the animals, experts said.
The initial results of the tests done on the dolphins have been received, but further “different studies must still be done” to determine what killed the marine mammals, the Production Ministry said.