In short, because it involves too many players that try to use or even exploit the situation to various degrees and from various angles.
Peru’s Officials: wish it just all goes away. Have various agendas, such as to pacify the public (for example) and at the same time try not to piss off Big Oil much, because it is important for country’s economy (true not only for Peru, but worldwide, in any country basically). Or try not to piss off the Navy because their horrid tests are important for “national security” (in the USA)
The Public: clearly outraged, but not given all available data and information. Usually given some watered down reports from “experts” (who btw often have their own various agendas/conflicts of interests) that go like this: ”it could be this, or that, not clear, more research needed, or not enough data, its a big mystery, blah, blah, blah”
Media: takes statements from all these power players, “experts”, does not look into any conflict of interests involved, mixes it, shakes it very good and regurgitates back to the public. Also recycles each other’s articles. Often does not bother to check facts, does not ask tough questions, and yes, investigative journalism is dead.
Big Oil (in Peru’s case and other cases)/Navy (other instances): watches this locomotion with amusement, issues statement that they are absolutely not responsible for anything, that they obey all regulations, have extensive mitigation measures and also employ PR people to mitigate any damage to company’s image. Clearly a winner under current conditions.
NGOs: “Much Ado About Nothing” Some NGOs prefer not to get in this mess (who can blame them, right?) others try to use the situation to feel all important, to hold all exclusive information and release it drop by drop with an obligatory note “all rights reserved” (seriously?), to pump up donations or just because. Others use it to start entirely irrelevant to the case conversation, such as PCBs and stuff like that. Some even try to bring climate change into the picture (not like the climate change is not important, but common!). As a result, media has given the public at least a dozen explanations, including: morbillivirus, acoustic trauma because of seismic surveys (or not), PCBs/pollution, biotoxins, dynamite fishing, El Nino, climate change, all anchovies are gone, and the list goes on and on.
Scientists: Like to feel important as well, like not to talk before publishing their manuscripts (usually takes years) and usually take as much sweet time as possible only to say that the cause is inconclusive. Do not communicate with public directly, do not explain the limits of science, do not emphasize that the majority of dolphins have been dead for sometime which limits the accuracy of many conclusions/offers an open door for Big Oil to argue the validity of findings. More importantly, also avoid asking/communicating tough questions, like why sea lions in a mix? Did dolphins strand dead or alive? If pelicans died of starvation what is their body condition? Were all birds severely emaciated? How long can pelicans go without fish? Where and what 3 oil companies have been testing, what was the schedule? Source levels? Number of airguns? and the list goes on and on. Ideally, the science should be able to give answers, but it is sadly not the case.
So what will happen? Nothing. The public will be outraged for sometime, but will move on eventually to other issues like Taiji which is clear cut and does not cause much cognitive dissonance like strandings do. How many Americans and people worldwide are still pumped up about Cape Cod highly unusual die off of common dolphins happened early this year? Exactly, next to none. Everybody moved on. But what was given as a reason for Cape Cod UME? A range of reasons just like in Peru, the Navy of course was not responsible (as per NOAA/IFAW, even though Navy has been doing loads of activities in the area, even admitted using high frequency sonar). Media communicated this quite successfully, the reasons included weather (ole’ good weather, blamed for everything), prey movements, changes in the North Atlantic oscillation, Cape Cod unusual topography (never mind that local whale watching operators routinely report common dolphins coming in and out without strandings), blah, blah, blah. IFAW still has not released any necropsy report and it is very unlikely it will release it at all as nobody pressures nor requires them to do so. Honestly, how many of our USA readers still think about Cape Cod stranding?
The same will happen with Peru’s die off. The outrage and interest will gradually subside, the official conclusion will be some half-baked explanation in a worst case scenario/undetermined in a best case scenario. Someone will publish a paper (maybe). Someone will try to refute it (maybe). Some NGO will feel good, will get more donations/Likes on FB page and followers on Twitter. And this is how it will end. Without anything being even remotely found close to what actually happened, how many animals died and why. Until the next time, somewhere in the world, where this scenario will play itself over and over again. Watch it, you will see.