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MAURITIUS : The number of dolphins washed up dead near a Mauritius oil spill site increased to 38 on Friday, a government official told Reuters.

"I can confirm we have so far found the carcasses of 38 dolphins," said Jasvin Sok Appadu from the fisheries ministry.

Autopsy results on 25 dolphins that washed ashore Wednesday and Thursday are expected in the coming days, the official added.

So far veterinarians have examined only two of the dolphins, which bore signs of injury but no trace of hydrocarbons in their bodies, according to preliminary autopsy results.

The oil spill was caused by a Japanese ship that struck a coral reef on July 25 and began to spill oil about a week later. The ship was scuttled on Monday.

The autopsy on the first two was conducted by the government-run Albion Fisheries Research Centre.

Greenpeace called on Thursday on the government of Mauritius to launch an "urgent investigation to determine the cause of the deaths and any ties to the Wakashio oil spill".

Environmentalists and scientists have warned about a major ecological disaster and said that the impact on Mauritius and its tourism-dependent economy could last for decades.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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