TROPICAL dolphins have washed up on a beach in southern Spain in a never seen before phenomenon.
Experts from the Ministry of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy have launched an emergency protocol after the mammals washed up on Playa de la Hierbabuena in Barbate, near Cadiz.
The two ‘spinner dolphins’ have now been officially registered, in a first for Europe.
The Junta discovered the tropical species after receiving reports of two live dolphins stranded on the beach.
Experts identified the pair as adult males but unfortunately they were already dead by the time they arrived.
The bodies were then moved to the Strait Marine Environment Management Center, where their cause of death was investigated.
However, no conclusive causes have been identified so the dolphins will be sent to the Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety (IUSA) of the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, a reference point for marine life under the World Organization for Animal Health.
The species is normally found in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic ocean, as well as the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.
Its presence is usually limited to these tropical and subtropical areas of deep ocean far away from the coast.
The incident is particularly worrying as the dolphins are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, though on the ‘least concern’ end of the scale.
Spinner dolphins are known for their acrobatic displays performed as they leap out of the water.
Between 2008-2022, the Junta has attended to 4,555 calls on marine life, 56% of which concerned whales and 44% turtles.
They have carried out over 600 whale autopsies, 75% of which died of natural causes.