Wildlife Threatened By Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

Here’s a selection of animals at risk in the open water, along the coasts and in the wetlands.  Thanks to our quest for oil they now get to suffer.  I am just as guilty as my readers are in this matter.  But if there was ever a wake-up call that we must find another answer than drilling in fragile areas, this surely is the event.  With an estimated rate of 210,000 gallons per day of oil leaking from the damaged site we can only imagine the horrorific effects this will have on wildlife.   The spill threatens 445 species of fish, 45 species of mammals, 32 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 134 species of birds.  Is our trip down the street to visit a friend in a car worth the damage?  Might we learn to walk or ride a bike?  We really do need to think in more global terms.  In addition, we need to find a sustainable energy plan for the long-term.

1. North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna: The Great Bluefin Tuna, prized for sushi and sashimi, is one of the species most in danger of slipping into extinction. Traveling down across the Atlantic seaboard, bluefin tuna spawn in the Gulf of Mexico between mid-April and mid-June.

2. Sea Turtles: Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species live, migrate and breed in the Gulf region. Kemp’s ridley is the world’s most endangered species of sea turtle, and one of its two primary migration routes runs south of Mississippi. Loggerhead turtles, also endangered, feed in the warm waters in the Gulf between May and October.

3. Sharks: Shark species worldwide are in decline. The grassbeds south of the Chandeleur Islands are very close to the oil spill. These grasses are a known nursing area for a number of shark species, which are now beginning their spawning season in the Gulf. Whale sharks, the world’s largest fish, feed on plankton at the surface of the water and could also be affected.

4. Marine mammals (whales, porpoises, dolphins): Oil spills pose an immediate threat to marine mammals, which need to surface and breathe. Not only does the oil pose a threat, but also the nasty toxins that the oil kicks off into the air. A resident pod of sperm whales in the spill area could be at risk along with piggy sperm whales, porpoises and dolphins.

5. Brown Pelicans: The state bird of Louisiana, the pelican nests on barrier islands and feeds near shore. Brown pelicans only came off the endangered species list last year, but they’ve had a rough time in past seasons with storms. Their reproductive rates are low. Breeding season just started, and with eggs incubating the oil could pose a significant threat.

4 thoughts on “Wildlife Threatened By Gulf Of Mexico Oil Spill

  1. James

    Boy, I sure hope this will convince people that we need even more off shore drilling and soon… shucks, what could go wrong?

  2. TerryN

    Petroleum is an organic compound. This disaster is going to devastate a huge portion of the gulf coast for several years. But in the long run nature will do it’s part and this wound will heal. In the mean time humans will uncover the root cause of this disaster and take the necessary steps to prevent another. Overall offshore drilling has had a pretty good record of environmental responsibility.

    Maybe someday those that look at oil companies as evil, to champion their disdain for the oil they depend on daily will get a clue about the Pacific Trash Vortex and do something about the bigger environmental disaster that doesn’t fit their political motives.

  3. The article misses the most important part of the ecosystem that will be damaged. The already dwindling vegetation on the Louisiana Delta is the only thing the keeping the Louisiana coast from eroding away. The marsh habitat is the nursery for the gulf. The real long term damage will be caused by the loss of habitat and the bottom of the foodchain disappearing…permanently.

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