Seven finless porpoises have been found dead on a western coast beach hit by South Korea's worst oil spill early this month, officials said Tuesday.
A one-meter-long finless porpoise was first found dead on a beach in Taean, South Chungcheong Province, on Dec. 10, its body covered with black crude oil, wild animal rescuers of the Gum River Environmental Agency said, adding the death toll has risen to seven so far in the area.
It was not known if the deaths were related to water pollution caused by the oil spill.
The agency commissioned the National Institute of Biological Resources to conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of the deaths.
The finless porpoise is a sea animal that resembles a large grey fish. It lives in the shallow coastal waters of Asia, usually some five to six kilometers off the coast and is often spotted in South Korean waters.