Dr Jennifer Olbers, a marine ecologist at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s Scientific Services, said seismic surveys have led to strandings and other negative effects on marine animals around the world.
She said surveys carried out along the KZN coast in 2016 recorded the highest number of beachings.
However, there was no evidence to prove that the strandings were caused by gas exploration.
“In KZN we do not have the equipment to undertake post-mortems on cetaceans to test for acoustic trauma caused by sound,” she said.
On average, seven dolphins, seven whales, 11 turtles and seven seals are stranded every year.
“These animals need to be assessed so the best action can be taken for the animal. Sometimes they are left to rest or removed for rehabilitation and medical care.”
Olbers regards noise in the sea as a major concern.
Dr Caryl Knox, a veterinarian at uShaka Marine World, said her findings concluded some had died from natural factors. “In May a post-mortem on a dolphin found it had a broken rib and bleeding in the lungs. This could have been caused by being bumped by a mate because dolphins can be aggressive.”
“On Monday I completed an autopsy of the dolphin that was found on Brighton Beach. It was an elderly male and showed signs of old age and a lung infection,” Knox said.