New Tests Confirm BP Oil Still Being Found on Dead Dolphins

from Wildlife Promise

Dolphins ride boat's wake off Mississippi, May 2010 (by NWF's Jeremy Symons)The total of dead dolphins found along the Gulf Coast is now up to 153 – and federal officials confirm they’re still finding dolphins with BP oil from the Deepwater Horizon Macondo well on them.

So far, 65 of the dead dolphins have been babies. As National Wildlife Federation Senior Scientist Dr. Doug Inkley has reported, the dolphin death toll is at least 5 times higher than average. While it’s difficult to say exactly what killed the dolphins and multiple factors could be in play, it’s disturbing that BP oil continues to be found on dead dolphins:

Eight months after BP PLC capped the well that spewed 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins are washing ashore in east Louisiana with oil from that spill on their bodies — most recently two weeks ago, a federal stranding coordinator said Thursday.

Blair Mase, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service, said oil may not have had anything to do with the animals’ deaths. The causes have not been determined, she said.

We’re still seeing dolphins wash ashore with evidence of oil,” she said. She said 15 dolphins with some oil on them have been found since last April, when the Deepwater Horizon well blew wild, and eight of them bore oil from that well. One of those eight was found two weeks ago, she said in a teleconference Thursday.

NOAA continues posting dolphin data at its Unusual Mortality Event site. How long did it take the Gulf Coast to nearly meet its historical average of dead dolphins washing ashore in April? Three days. That’s right – 10 dead dolphins washed ashore in the first three days of April, just under the average of 11.5.

Additionally, 87 dead sea turtles have been found since mid-March in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. And according to a a new study, the number of dead dolphins and turtles that sink to the bottom of the ocean, never to be found, could be far higher than previously thought.

Speak Up for Dolphins and Sea Turtles

Please take a moment right now to ask your members of Congress to pass oil disaster response legislation that devotes fines and penalties to coastal wetlands restoration.

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s response to the Gulf oil disaster at NWF.org/OilSpill.