Both the National Wildlife Federation and Huffington Post have just published articles about the federal government’s response to the spike in dolphin deaths in the Gulf. Since January, about 200 dolphin carcasses have been found on Gulf state shores and beaches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Roughly half of the carcasses are newborns or stillborn infants. (This number does not include the nearly 90 that were found dead immediately after the Deepwater Horizon blowout and the ensuing months.)
At the moment no one knows exactly why there has been such a large surge in Gulf dolphin deaths. In order to help document the very disturbing trend, the National Marine Fisheries Service hired contract wildlife biologists to collect specimens and tissue samples. However, these scientists were also instructed to keep their discoveries to themselves. One of the biologists said, “This throws accountability right out the window. We are confused and angry because they claim they want team work, but at the same time they are leaving the marine experts out of the loop completely.”(Source: TheDailyMail.uk)
The gag order is related to the ongoing criminal investigation against BP. The dolphin deaths could become evidence in that case. However, it also seems the public has a right to know about a potential link between the oil spill and dolphin tragedy, because the federal government said months ago most of the oil had disappeared. If the public finds out the government lied about the extent of the oil spill, the blame surely can’t be limited to BP. In fact, it has been quite obvious with various oil drilling permits allowed in the Gulf since the disaster, the government is really not on the side of the marine life living in the Gulf. Elected politicians are making the decisions on behalf of the oil industry, and could care less about the wild animals.
If it turns out there is a direct link between the oil spill and the ongoing dolphin deaths, and the government suppressed crucial information so the public would not know, there will have to be more personnel changes in the government. Perhaps even criminal charges against government officials will be levied. Oil in seawater does not only impact dolphins negatively, an obvious point, but if so many dolphins are dying, what is happening to all the other Gulf creatures?
Image Credit: NWF