Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gulf Coast oil spill to threaten marine wildlife

Gulf Coast oil spill is one of the worst oil spills in the history that will likely have devastating effect on many marine organisms. Particularly vulnerable could be sea turtles, various bird species including brown pelicans, oysters, and several other marine organisms. Brown pelicans only last year came off the endangered species list, and they could be yet again in big trouble because breeding season just started, and with eggs incubating the oil could pose a significant threat.

The damage from oil spill will add to total damage that has been piling in the last two decades as the result of serious water pollution, with much of it runoff from farms, storm sewers and industry.

Many fish and wildlife agencies are doing everything in their power to cordon off the most ecologically sensitive areas with containment booms as they hope this will minimize the total damage. But there's no doubt that large number of marine animals will pay for this human mistake with their lives.

Sea mammals like whales and dolphins could be also put in great jeopardy because they need to go to surface to breathe. This means that oil presents double threat to them as it also releases harmful toxins into the air.

Even ocean's most famous predators sharks could be in jeopardy. Many shark species are already in decline, and Gulf Coast oil spill could cause even more problems to these great hunters of the sea. Conservationists are particularly worried that the grassbeds south of the Chandeleur Islands are very close to the oil spill because these grasses are a known nursing area for a number of shark species, which are now beginning their spawning season in the Gulf.

The worst thing about oil spills is the fact that their harmful effects last for many decades. How many dead animals is that? Thousands, hundreds of thousands?

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