30/04/2012 08:59 BST | Updated 30/04/2012 13:19 BST

Mystery Pelican Deaths In Peru: 500 Birds Found Dead in Same Place As Dolphin Carcasses

The mysterious deaths of more than 500 pelicans in Peru is being investigated by the country's government, after masses of bloated carcasses were found along the northern coastline.

The bodies of five sea lions, 54 blue-footed boobies and a turtle have also been found sprawled on beaches. Even more perplexingly it appears the animals have died onshore, rather than at sea.

Peru's state run news agency put the number of pelicans found dead along the coastline even higher, reporting that more than 1,200 have been found.

Officials have struggled to decipher when the spate of deaths began as many of the creatures discovered along the 43 miles of coastline were badly discomposed, although it seems most of the animals died recently.

Seismic waves created by oil exploration has been ruled out, said the environment agency.

The carcasses have been found in the same place as those of 800 dead dolphins which washed up, bloodied and rotten in Lambayeque between January and April.

The Peruvian government has said it is "deeply worried" about the deaths. Last week, Peruvian Deputy Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria, said a virus could have been responsible for killing the dolphins, reported Peru's state-run Andina news.

Morobilius, a virus similar to measles in humans has been linked with the dolphins' deaths, however the mammals were so badly decomposed it has been difficult to identify whether this can be proved for certain.