At least 80 dead dolphins washed up on a beach in Ghana, and people have no idea why

dead dolphin Ghana
Men inspect dolphin carcasses that washed up on the shores of Axim, Ghana.

  • Dozens of dead dolphins washed up on the coast of Ghana on Sunday and Monday.
  • Dead fish, including rays and eels, have also washed up at a different part of the coast.
  • The cause of death is not clear, and local authorities have launched an investigation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Between 80 and 100 dolphins and different types of fish have washed up dead on Ghana’s coast, and no one knows why.

The dolphins washed up on the coast of Axim beach, of Ghana’s capital Accra, on Sunday and Monday. Different species of dead fish also washed up about Osu Castle Beach in Accra, about 170 miles away, Reuters reported.

Fish, including rays and eels, were still washing up on the shore on Tuesday, the local nonprofit OR Foundation told The Guardian.

It is not yet clear what caused the death of these animals. Authorities are investigating the incident, Reuters reported.

Local authorities said they didn’t find any wounds on their first look at the animals, Modern Ghana reported.

Peter Zedah, the Head of Fish Health for Ghana Fisheries Commission, told local media on Wednesday environmental and stress factors had likely caused the deaths, The Guardian reported.

Authorities suspect some of the dolphins had been picked up by local residents, supposedly for domestic or commercial use, AfricaNews reported.

The local nonprofit Wildseas said locals intend to use the dolphin meat as shark bait, Reuters reported.

Axim beach
Axim Beach near Accra, Ghana.

Rhoda Ewurabena Appiah, a spokeswoman for the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority, urged people to inspect the fish they have purchased on local markets in the past few days and to not eat it just in case, AfricaNews reported.

Ghana’s minister of fisheries and aquaculture, Mavis Koomson, also asked fishers in Accra “to cooperate with the Fisheries Commission and FDA [Ghana Food And Drugs Authority] as they investigate the incidents.”

This is not the first time dead dolphins have washed up on and around the African continent.

In February, 111 dead dolphins were found dead off the coast of Mozambique, AfricaNews reported. A preliminary investigation put the blame on poor weather due to a cyclone in the area.

And last year, 52 dolphins washed up on the coast of Mauritius. An investigation found that this was due to a phenomenon called “barotrauma,” an intense change in pressure that could be caused by earthquakes, explosives, and military sonar, the BBC reported.

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Ghana is using drones to deliver coronavirus vaccines to rural communities

Zipline Novant Health ppe
One of Zipline’s drones.

  • Zipline has started delivering coronavirus vaccines with drone in Ghana.
  • This tackles one of the biggest problems with the rollout – distributing doses in poorer countries.
  • Zipline has delivered medical supplies by drone since 2016, and works with Walmart and Novant Health.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Ghana has become the first country to launch a nationwide program to deliver coronavirus vaccines with drones.

Zipline started delivering the shots on Tuesday as part of the WHO’s first shipment of vaccines through COVAX, its program that aims to provide poorer countries with enough doses to cover 20% of their population.

Zipline, a San Francisco startup, has been delivering medical supplies including blood, personal protective equipment, and vaccines since 2016 using patented, autonomous drones.

Doctors can use Zipline’s app to place orders and track shipments.

As well as national operations in Rwanda and Ghana, Zipline also has partnerships with Walmart and Novant Health in the US, and its PPE deliveries become the first long-range drone logistics flights to be approved by the FAA.

 Zipline started the drone deliveries in Ghana on Tuesday when it distributed 4,500 doses across the Ashanti Region in the country’s south in 36 separate journeys in a partnership with the Ghanaian government and UPS.

Around 2.5 million doses will be delivered in Ghana using the drones, GAVI said.

“Not only does this make Ghana the world’s first country to deploy drones on a national scale for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, but is also a giant effort in ensuring equitable access and enabling Ghana to fully utilize its healthcare infrastructure to deliver vaccines,” Zipline CEO Keller Rinaudo said in a statement.

COVAX shipped 600,000 doses of the vaccine created by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to the capital, Accra, in late February.

But distributing vaccine doses globally is proving to be a mammoth task.

Even when vaccines do make it to developing countries, they might lack the transport links and road networks to distribute the doses to everyone in need.

This is complicated further by storage requirements. Pfizer’s vaccine has to be transported at -94 degrees Fahrenheit through a system of deep-freeze airport warehouses and then refrigerated in vehicles using dry ice and GPS temperature-monitoring devices, while AstraZeneca’s and Moderna‘s can be transported at fridge temperatures.

Zipline told Bloomberg it has developed drones that can deliver “all leading COVID-19 vaccines.”

Zipline’s drones look like six-foot long airplanes

Insider’s Noah Lewis spoke to CEO Rinaudo back in May, when the company started delivering coronavirus tests in Ghana and Rwanda.

Each drone’s flight is fully automated and monitored from its distribution center. They can fly close to 100 miles round-trip on a single battery charge, travel up to 80 mph, and carry four pounds of cargo.

Orders can be scheduled in advance or placed on demand for just-in-time delivery, and drones can be launched within seven minutes of the company receiving the order.

Unlike conventional drones, Zipline’s drones resemble small planes. They are six feet long with an 11-foot wingspan, and, rather than landing themselves, drop boxes of supplies with a parachute attached to cushion their fall.

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