The massive die off of dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico waters should not come as a surprise to any of us, as the following story confirms what most of us already know.
The long term consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and toxic clean up many independent scientists and other voices warned us about is now happening before our eyes. A massive die off of those darling dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico waters is upon us.
Normally an average of 74 dolphins are stranded on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico each year, especially during the spring birthing season. But between February 2010 and April 1, 2012, 714 dolphins and other cetaceans have been reported as washed up on the coast from the Louisiana/Texas border through Franklin County, Fla., reported the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Ninety-five percent of the mammals were dead.
Since many of the dead dolphins sink, decompose or are eaten by scavengers before washing up, NOAA believes that 714 may represent only a fraction of the actual death count. NOAA declared the die-off an “Unusual Mortality Event” as per the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
Although the timing of the die-off largely coincides with BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its aftermath, the deaths actually started increasing about two months before the April 20, 2010, explosion, which started the monthslong oil spill.
Before the spill, 112 dolphins had already been reported stranded on the shore.
In the summer of 2011, NOAA tested 32 live dolphins in Barataria Bay, an area heavily impacted by the oil spill. The dolphins were underweight, anemic, and had low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease. Nearly half had abnormally low levels of hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.
The symptoms are consistent with those seen in animals exposed to oil. Source
Likewise, conservationists counted 615 dead dolphins along a 90-mile stretch of beaches in Peru, a wildlife group said Wednesday, and the leading suspect is acoustic testing offshore by oil companies.
"If you can count 615 dead dolphins, you can be sure there are a great many more out at sea and the total will reach into the thousands,” Hardy Jones, head of the conservation group BlueVoice.org, said in a statement after he and an expert with ORCA Peru walked the beaches. Source
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