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In Brazil, massive pod of dolphins beached

About 30 dolphins beached themselves in northeastern Brazil this weekend. Scientists are puzzled as to why.

Image

People look on as biologists inspect a dolphin on Upanema beach in the Areia Branca municipality of Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. Around 30 large dolphins known as false killer whales beached themselves in northeastern Brazil.

(AP Photo/Carlos Junior, Voz de Areia Branca)

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Around 30 large dolphins beached themselves in northeastern Brazil over the weekend, and news reports said Monday that at least seven of them had died.

The dolphins, known as false killer whales, ran aground early Sunday on the shallow sands of Upanema beach in Areia Branca, roughly halfway between the cities of Fortaleza and Natal.

Images distributed by the environmental police of Rio Grande do Norte state show beachgoers and passers-by attempting to aid the animals, which lay stranded in inches- (centimeters-) deep water. Most of the animals were still, occasionally twitching their tails, as beachgoers swabbed them with wet T-shirts.

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O Globo newspaper reported Monday that at least seven on the animals died, six of them on the Upanema beach. O Globo said one animal died following an apparent shark attack after it was returned to the ocean. The report stressed that the dolphin was likely attacked in very deep waters and that area beachgoers needn't worry about shark attacks.

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