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Peru Pelican Mass Die-Off To Be Investigated

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LIMA, Peru -- Peru's oceanographic agency says it will investigate the deaths of hundreds of pelicans on northern beaches where nearly 900 dolphins were recently found dead.

Puerto Eten fisherman's association president Fernando Niquen says his group found about 1,200 dead pelicans Thursday and Friday along a 105-mile (170-kilometer) stretch of coastline.

The government's Institute of the Sea says it found nearly 600 dead birds, mostly pelicans but also gannets, along a 43-mile (70-kilometer) stretch.

Its regional chief, Edward Barriga, recalled a mass die-off of pelicans and cormorants in the same area in 1997 due to the absence of anchovies blamed on the El Nino meteorological phenomenon.

Coast Guard official Cesar Villanueva in Lambayeque said Sunday he has never seen so many dying pelicans on the beach in 25 years on the job.

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