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Report: Gulf Wildlife Still Struggling 4 Years After Spill

By Evelina Burnett | Published 09 Apr 2014 11:14am | comments
Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling. (Photo: National Park Service)

A new report says Gulf wildlife are still struggling almost four years after the BP oil spill. The study looked at 14 species, many of whom call Mississippi home.

The new report by the National Wildlife Federation looked at an array of scientific research being done after the spill. It noted a number of concerns. Among their findings: the years since the spill have seen higher than average numbers of dead sea turtles and hundreds of dead or stranded bottlenose dolphins.

The report also said some Gulf oysters have experienced low reproduction rates and blue crab numbers have dropped precipitously in some locations.

Jill Mastrototaro is the Alabama/Mississippi Policy Specialist for the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf of Mexico Restoration Campaign

"It really demonstrates in its findings that there's a lot still unknown about the disaster, (and) there are some clear canaries in the coal mine, so to speak, that may be impacting our wildlife in the region," she says.

Mastrototaro says some impacts may not even be seen yet. She points to the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as an example.

"The Exxon Valdez had several species that had impacts that didn't come to light until several years after the tanker ran aground," she says. "One keystone species there was the Pacific herring population, which didn't fall off until four years after that disaster began. And it's still, 25 years later, is a species that hasn't recovered."

A lot of research into the BP oil spill is still under wraps since litigation stemming from the spill is continuing. 

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Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling. (Photo: National Park Service)


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