And then there were 30.
The 30th dead dolphin has been found on Alabama and Mississippi beaches, and already some officials are backing off their premature assertion that BP’s oil spill is not the cause. That’s 30 dead dolphins – two dozen of them babies – that have washed ashore on the Gulf Coast this year alone. According to the non-profit Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, there were 89 dolphin deaths reported in all of 2010. Further, research shows that in the first two months of 2009 there was one infant dolphin death reported and in the first two months of 2010 only two.
The alarmingly high death toll in the first two months of 2011 is profoundly troubling in itself, but since only a portion of the dead mammals will actually make it to shore, you have to wonder just how widespread the problem truly is.
We have had no luck confirming the identity of the “scientists” who initially told the Associated Press that BP was not to blame – I’m still betting NOAA is behind that knee-jerk denial. This story has the potential to re-engage the rest of the country, and BP and government public relations folks have to know that. I’m sure they’re scrambling the jets to control the damage as we speak.
Veteran toxicologist Dr. William Sawyer, a member of my research team, says the dolphin deaths are an outcome that could very well be linked to BP’s spill. He explains: “Toluene and aromatic hydrocarbons are known to cause spontaneous abortions and severe birth defects in humans and other mammals.”
The real surprise here, from what I can gather, is that the spill effects may be hitting more quickly than anybody imagined, indicating that the oil and/or dispersant may be even more toxic than we thought.
Here’s a WKRG-TV News report on the latest baby dolphin deaths: http://www.wkrg.com/gulf_oil_spill/article/dead-baby-dolphin-washes-up-in-bon-secour-bay/1205027/Feb-23-2011_7-59-pm/
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