Massive Oil Spill In Borneo, Indonesia, Claims The Lives Of 5 People & An Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphin

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A dead Irrawaddy dolphin was found washed up on the shore near the oil spill. Photo courtesy of the Rare Aquatic Species Indonesia (RASI).

The Indonesian government issued a state of emergency yesterday following a major oil spill that occurred over the weekend in Borneo, Indonesia.

Tragically, five fishermen and one endangered dolphin have been confirmed dead so far as a result of the spill that occurred on Saturday morning in the Balikpapan Bay, in East Kalimantan province.

This morning, as per an AFP report on Yahoo7, Indonesia’s national oil company Pertamina, which originally denied responsibility, declared that the spill was, in fact, caused by a ruptured pipe that was used for transporting crude oil approximately 25 meters below the sea surface.

The Irrawaddy dolphin, which is listed as endangered on the ICUN Red List, was discovered on the shore near the spill on Sunday evening.

Distributed across the coastal Indian Ocean from India to Indonesia, the Irrawaddy dolphin’s relatively small size, mobile ‘expressive’ head, and ability to spit water when instructed have contributed to the recent rise in their captivity.

u.s.whales.org, Dipani Sutaria

While the toxic spill is believed to be the cause of the dolphin’s death, according to Mongabay, Danielle Kreb, a marine biologist with the non-profit organization Rare Aquatic Species Indonesia (RASI) explained that it would take up to a week before they receive the results of the samples they took from the animal.

A protected species under Indonesian law, killing an Irrawaddy dolphin carries fines and a possible jail sentence.

WAN prays there are no more deaths of people or animals affected by this tragic oil spill.

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