Although the BP oil spill disaster is taking its toll on thousands of human Gulf Coast residents, it’s the non-human residents that are taking the brunt of the impact.
Images of oil-soaked brown pelicans, dead dolphins, and endangered sea turtles continually remind us that innocent wildlife will suffer the most severe consequences of the oil that continues to flow into the Gulf of Mexio an astounding 10+ weeks after the Deepwater Horizon exploded.
Thanks to the hard work of conservation scientists and volunteers from around the world, experts say the toll on sea birds from BP’s Gulf Coast oil spill is smaller than was anticipated. At least for now.
Scientists predict that shifting weather and sea conditions will soon create a dangerous situation in which sea birds, simply following their instinctual behavior patterns, will fly right into the deadly oil spill mess.
In the coming weeks, millions of waterfowl and other birds that flock to the Gulf Coast on their annual fall migration will arrive in the region either to roost for the winter or to make brief stopovers en route farther south.
With toxic crude still gushing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico and streaks of the slick creeping inexorably farther inland, many more birds and other wildlife that nest, feed and find shelter on shore are likely to become casualties. (MSNBC).
Officials are scrambling to prevent thousands of avian fatalities from adding to the environmental devastation in the Gulf. So far wildlife experts are working to minimze risk by using containment boomts to cordon off rookeries, asking local farmers to flood their fields so they can be used as temporary bird-friendly wetlands, and issuing new duck hunting restrictions.
Jay Holcomb, head of the International Bird Rescue Research Center told MSNBC that authorities may even be forced to capture baby pelicans to move them out of harm’s way. A similar evacuation procedure is already underway to save endangered sea turtle eggs.
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Image Credit: Flickr - KK