May 7th, 2012
02:19 AM ET

Mystery pelican deaths prompt beach warning in Peru

Peru's health ministry is asking people to avoid beaches in Lima and north of the capital until officials can determine what caused the deaths of hundreds of dolphins and pelicans.

Last month, the country's production ministry said the authorities were investigating the deaths of more than 538 pelicans, and other birds, on the northern coast.

State-run TV Peru estimated that as many as to 1,200 birds have been found dead along the 100 miles (160km) of northern shoreline extending from Punta Negra, in Piura, to San José, in the state of Lambayeque.

That discovery came after close to 900 dolphins washed up dead on the northern coast of Peru this year.

The investigation into the deaths of both the dolphins and the birds is ongoing, and it is not clear whether they are connected.

The health ministry advised anyone who might handle any of the dead birds to wear protective clothing, such as gloves and masks.

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