Dolphins and sea turtles are dying in record numbers along the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new report issued by the National Wildlife Federation – NWF. The Deepwater Horizon BP oil rig explosion four years ago appears to have had a disastrous impact on wildlife in the gulf.
BP has reportedly dismissed the new National Wildlife Federation report as not science but a politically motivated document. During an interview with National Geographic a BP representative stated that the NWF report “misrepresents the US government’s investigation into dolphin deaths. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) own website states that inquiry is ongoing.” The energy company representative went on to claim that the NWF report “conveniently overlooks information” from other scientific research documents which allegedly show that the Gulf of Mexico is “undergoing a strong recovery.” Auburn University researchers reportedly found that the spill did not impact the young red snapper population on reefs along the Alabama coast.
NWH senior scientist Doug Inkley had this to say about the dolphins and sea turtles dying as a result of the BP oil spill:
“The oil is not gone. There is oil on the bottom of the gulf, oil washing up on the beach and there is oil in the marshes.”
The wildlife organization report stated that more than 900 dead bottlenose dolphins have been found in the BP oil spill area since 2010. The scientists involved with the research went on to note that the mortality rate is “far higher” than in previous years. Dolphins swimming in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion are anemic, suffer from lung and liver disease, and are underweight, according to NWF scientists.
The increase in the mortality of sea turtles has caused NWF scientists even more concern. Every year since the BP oil spill occurred approximately 500 dead sea turtles have been found inside the Deepwater Horizon disaster area. The animal welfare group has deemed this occurrence as a “dramatic increase over normal rates.” The same researchers believe that the true number of sea turtle deaths is likely much higher since an undetermined number of deaths probably occurred at sea.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director since 2010 Rowan Gold had this to say about the lasting impact of the BP oil spill:
“This spill is significant and, in all likelihood, will affect fish and wildlife across the Gulf, if not all of North America, for years, if not decades. The concern is what we can’t see. We may never know the spill’s impacts on many species of birds and marine life, given how far offshore they are found.”
BP set aside $42.4 billion for environmental fines paid to the federal government, victim compensation, and for Gulf of Mexico cleanup. The company is now reportedly fighting a bid to garner further compensation for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.
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