Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill Poses Ongoing Threat To Wildlife

The photo above, taken by AP photographer Charlie Riedel, has become the iconic image of the Gulf Oil spill. This bird on the Louisiana coast is so mired in oil that we don't even know what species it is:

Robert Longhitano, a photographer in Philadelphia, [stated], " me to the core. I literally had to fight back the tears. It's truly an iconic image. In my mind, it's as if this spill took something beautiful and turned it into a monster."

The Gulf Oil spill poses both an immediate and ongoing threat to wildlife:

The number of birds found alive and coated in oil throughout in five Gulf Coast states has nearly doubled to 177, with 156 of them picked up in Louisiana. But 547 birds have been found dead, 73 of them oil-soaked. It is not known whether the others died as a result of the oil, but experts said that's possible.

Wildlife experts fear that the population of Louisiana's brown pelicans, which only recently bounced back from near extinction, could once again be destabilized. "It made me sick seeing those two oiled birds,” Dantzker said. “I was incredibly sad.” The group called a bird hot-line to report the two dying pelicans. In less than an hour, a boat arrived.

...It’s not only the birds that are falling prey to the oil. Oil has been seen on the fins and tails of bottlenose dolphins as they slowly swim through the polluted waters off the bay side of Grand Terre Island. They swam behind a boom stretched 100 yards from shore, but it provides little protection. A female and her calf surfaced together while several others could be swimming in the area.

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