Shocking Photos: Endangered Wildlife Killed By BP Oil Spill


It’s been said many times that it will be many years before we know the true extent of the environmental damage caused by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Trying to wrap one’s head around the consequences of introducing 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into a fragile ocean ecosystem is difficult, especially when BP and its corporate partners did their best to keep the public from getting a good look at the worst of it.

In August of 2010, Greenpeace filed a Freedom of Information Act request [PDF] to see any communication related to the oil spill and endangered or threatened Gulf species. It took two long years for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to fill the request, and when you take a look at some of the pictures they were hiding, it’s not hard to see why.

NOAA Oil Covered Turtle“Critically endangered” Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle

“The White House was sitting on this stuff for over two years, at the same time they were saying everything was fine, that the oil was gone, and while they were rushing ahead with plans for new drilling in the Gulf, the Arctic, elsewhere,” said John Hocevar, a marine biologist with Greenpeace in a recent release. ”It’s just not okay. This is not an acceptable type of collateral damage.”

NOAA BP Oil Spill Damage

As Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard points out, most of the photos are missing dates and descriptions, so some, like the one above featuring dozens of garbage bags presumably full of dead wildlife, are hard to decipher. Regardless, they confirm the worst fears of many around the United States: the BP oil spill had a direct and immediate impact on the many protected and endangered species that call the Gulf Coast home.

Although BP and the government made sure to circulate lots of pictures of turtles and pelicans being saved from the oil, they purposefully hoarded images showing the public the deadly consequences of Big Oil’s “lack of a safety culture.” Maybe if more people had to look at pictures like this splashed across the headlines, they’d be less likely to support “drill, baby, drill” politicians.

Visit to view more of the recently released images.

Related Reading:

Legacy of Lies: The BP Oil Spill Two Years Later

Gulf Coast Residents Still Sick From BP Oil Spill

BP Engineer Arrested For Destroying Gulf Oil Spill Evidence

All images via NOAA

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Phyllis C.
Phyllis C.3 years ago

Duh. Did they really think we wouldn't realize the largest oil spill in history would not devastate the creatures living there? We are abysmal guardians of our earths resources.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.3 years ago


Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.3 years ago


Tanja Z.
Tanja Zilker3 years ago

very sad! fu***ing BP

Despina V.
Despina Vekris3 years ago

So sad

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago


Doreen Agostino
Past Member 3 years ago


President of the United States: Urgent Request for UN Intervention to Stabilize Fukushima Reactor Unit 4.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim3 years ago

Shame on them. This is terrible!

Anita Wischhusen
Anita Wisch3 years ago

We all must push and demand from our legislators, Clean Energy! Solar and wind are the easiest, and safest for both humans, animals, and the earth.....

Mary Mattarelli
Mary Mattarelli3 years ago

So sad