Number of animal victims grows as Gulf cleanup continues

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Aug 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Gulf of Mexico — The number of birds, sea turtles and mammals injured or killed as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to swell, according to a new estimate released by the Unified Area Command in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As of July 12, some 2,874 birds have been collected, and, of those, 1,789 were dead. Birds in Louisiana and Mississippi have been hardest hit. One hundred and twenty-eight visibly oiled, yet alive, sea turtles have been collected on-water, while 4,578 were collected dead, mostly from Mississippi.

A group of volunteers on July 9 moved about 50,000 sea turtle eggs from the Gulf coast of Florida to the state's east coast, in hopes the eggs can safely swim in the Atlantic Ocean and avoid the oil spill.

The latest report also noted that 64 mammals, including dolphins, have been found injured or dead since the spill occurred. Fifty-nine of those were collected dead, and the vast majority were visibly oiled. Again, Louisiana and Mississippi were the states hardest hit.

An April 20 explosion on BP's Deep Water Horizon drilling platform caused the spill. The incident killed 11 workers, and since that time, millions of gallons of oil have spread across the Gulf of Mexico. While the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts have been affected the most, tar balls have recently been spotted on the western coast of Florida and in Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain.