Update from the Gulf
Devastation in the Gulf
As oil continues to seep into the Gulf of Mexico, aggressive awareness campaigns and protection efforts are vital in order to save what’s left of the delicate balance of life in the ocean. The devastating effects of the BP oil spill on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico can be witnessed in an exhibit at the National Mississipi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa. According to KTTC, the exhibit was originally planned to display the beauty of the Gulf, but after the April 20 Deep Water Horizon rupture it will now showcase what is perhaps the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The aquarium exhibit includes a 40,000 gallon tank laden with dark window stickers resembling the oil that covers aquatic life in the Gulf. It allows visitors to face the effects of the tragedy.
The reality is that the ecosystems surrounding the Gulf may never be the same, as countless plants and animals have died or been forced from their habitats. Veterinarian news DVM 360 estimates that out of the approximately 1,812 birds that have been collected in the area, only 766 have been found alive. Similarly, only 128 of the 539 sea turtles collected, and 5 of 52 dolphins, were reported as living.
The New York Times reports that dozens of heavily oiled sea turtles were recently found near a site where workers were burning off oil, raising the possibility that the turtles had been burned.
Good News From the Gulf
Luckily, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation efforts shine a ray of hope over the murky depths of the Gulf. More than 63 cleaned and rehabilitated brown pelicans were set free at Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas, which was picked due to its ideal coastal habitat for the pelicans.
Also, the Center for Biological Diversity has advised that conservation groups, BP and the Coast Guard agreed Friday (in court) that efforts will be taken to rescue sea turtles from the water’s surface before setting fire to oil slicks in the Gulf. A shrimp boat captain noticed turtles, including the endangered Kemp’s ridleys, were being burned when fire-resistant booms were drawn together to form a “burn box” that was then burned. Turtles were being caught in the box and killed. Now qualified scientists and observers will attend every burn to make sure that all turtles are identified and removed before the burning starts.
Thank You and Good Luck to all the people rescuing and rehabilitating animals and cleaning up the oil. Efforts as rapid and forceful as the leaking oil are needed.