Post-mortem on the Gulf oil spill

Post-mortem on the Gulf oil spill

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Jan 01, 2011

National Report — Nearly 7,000 animals died in the Gulf of Mexico following the worst man-made disaster in U.S. history. The federal government released updated figures Nov. 2 detailing exactly how extensive the damage was to animals living in and around the Gulf of Mexico.

The spill, which dumped about 185,000 gallons of crude oil over 68,000 square miles, had the greatest impact on birds. A total of 8,183 birds were collected—4,342 of them visibly oiled, and 6,104 of them were dead, according to government estimates.

Sea turtle collections totaled 1,144 with 474 visibly oiled and 609 dead. Another 109 mammals were recovered, with 100 of them dead on collection, plus at least two reptiles collected with one of them dead. Only one of the mammals and none of the reptiles recovered were visibly oiled, according to the website.

Louisiana rescuers collected the most birds, while Texas responders brought in the most mammals.

Admiral Paul Zukunft, the federal on-scene coordinator at the spill site, says 9,300 people continue to work along the 587 miles of oiled shoreline after more than 200 days following the explosion on BP's oil drilling station. About 9,000 square miles of federal waters remain closed to fishing compared to the 88,000 that were closed at one point, he adds.