Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Animal Deaths
Animal Deaths from Gulf Oil Spill Estimated
Analysis by Liz Day
Restore the Gulf, the official federal government’s website about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, has issued its latest report in an attempt to track the effect of the BP oil spill on animals in the region.
The group consolidates numbers from experts on the ground, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
What are the current counts from the November 1st report?
The latest numbers are: 6,104 dead birds, 609 dead sea turtles and 100 dead mammals, including dolphins. The tallies include counts for five states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
It must be noted that the report constitutes only an initial, field-level evaluation. Not all of the deaths were necessarily caused by Deepwater Horizon. Final determination of cause of death comes later.
When found or captured, the specimens get identification numbers. After initial counts, more thorough examinations of the birds and wildlife may include a search for oil in the throat, mouth and eyes, as well as a necropsy to rule if the spill was to blame.
The report also catalogs the number of birds and wildlife that have been collected alive and how many of those were visibly oiled. Experts collected 535 living sea turtles, 456 of which were visibly oiled. Mammals fared better, with two out of nine live mammals collected visibly oiled. Worst were the birds: 2,079 have been collected alive, every single one of them visibly oiled.
The report admits their counts may include birds and wildlife felled by natural causes.