Baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama shorelines at about 10 times the normal number for the first two months of the year, researchers are finding.
As now February 17th, seventeen young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected on the coasts of the states in the past two weeks, both on the barrier islands and mainland beaches.
This is the first birthing season for dolphins since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; however, Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, said it’s too early to tell why they died.
Today the count is up to 24 stillborn or infant calves that have washed ashore in the two states.
What’s happening here falls under the formal designation of an Unusual Mortality Event, which requires special scrutiny by a panel of scientists and experts, and gives high priority to samples collected.
But scientists caution about jumping to conclusions because a number of factors can cause dolphin deaths.
We’ll be keep our eye on this story as it develops. Stay tuned.
The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one.
The industry and its well-paid allies say that delaying drilling will increase America’s dependence on foreign oil. That ignores a simple truth: A nation using one-quarter of the world’s oil while controlling only 3 percent of the world’s known reserves cannot drill its way to independence. The estimated 7.5 billion barrels the eastern gulf and Atlantic coast are thought to contain are just about what this country consumes in a year.
Former NOAA chief scientist and passionate advocate for our oceans Sylvia Earle recently sat down with Treehugger.com and talked about, among other things, what the Gulf oil spill means for the ocean’s ecology.