Dolphin Dies Near Sonar Site

It washes up as Navy is challenging restrictions on tests
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2008 9:00 AM CST
The flukes of a gray whale as it dives off the Southern California coast near the Palos Verdes Peninsula is seen Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008. Conservationists on Wednesday blasted President Bush's decision...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Researchers are trying to determine what killed a female dolphin that washed up on an island off the coast of San Diego—an area where the Navy conducted controversial sonar tests, the Los Angeles Times reports. The dolphin washed up as the Navy challenges court-imposed restrictions on the use of sonar, which has been linked to the deaths of marine life.

"There is no evidence naval activities contributed to this dolphin's death," said a US Navy spokesman. Early tests show brain damage consistent with that of dolphins and whales that washed up after sonar tests in the Canary Islands, but definitive results won't be known for about a month. The Navy's next sonar tests are scheduled for March; the case is being sped through appeal courts in the meantime.