By Marilia Brocchetto
updated 7:03 AM EDT, Sun April 22, 2012
-- Environmental authorities are investigating the deaths of more than 800 dolphins that have washed up on the northern coast of Peru this year.
The dolphins may have died from an outbreak of Morbillivirus or Brucella bacteria, said Peruvian Deputy Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria, according to Peru's state-run Andina news agency.
Quijandria said Thursday that 877 dolphins have washed up in a 220-kilometer (137-mile) area from Punta Aguja to Lambayeque, in the north of the country.
More than 80% of those dolphins were found in an advanced state of decomposition, making it difficult to study their deaths, according to Andina.