More Dead Dolphins in the Gulf Raises Questions


From ABC News Feb 23, 2011 – A tide of dead infant dolphins has washed ashore along a 100-mile stretch of the Alabama and Mississippi coastlines in the past two weeks, and marine experts today said they believe last summer’s Gulf oil spill may be to blame.

A total of 24 of the young dolphins been found dead in the last couple weeks, including five in the past 24 hours. Marine mammal researchers fear it will only get worse.

“I believe this is very very unusual what we’re dealing with. It’s a tenfold increase in calves that are dying,” Moby Solangi, the head of the Mississippi based Institute for Marine Mammal Research, told ABC News. “Every year, we get one or two babies that die. Now, we’re seeing stillborn, or preemies dying.”

“With some, we’re not sure if they actually took a breath,” said Dr. Delphine Shannon, also of the IMMR.

The gestation period for bottlenose dolphins is between 11 and 12 months. “That means the mothers would have conceived between March and May. If the mothers are delivering their calves now and many are dying, that is significant,” Solangi said.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, unleashing a torrent of 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico — the largest spill in American history. At one point the spill covered about 70,000 square miles.

Solangi couldn’t directly link the two events but fears that the animals could have “ingested something that may have affected their reproduction.”

Solangi and his team say there’s a chance this could be an anomaly. “But in my 30 years of studying dolphins I have never seen anything like this. This is highly unusual.”

The relation between the oil spill and the dolphin deaths could be direct or indirect. The dolphin mothers may have ingested heavy metals in the oil or the chemicals used to disperse the oil, Solangi said. Or the oil eating bacteria that flourished during the summer may have caused an imbalance in the animals’ guts, causing bacterial infections that may have caused the mothers to abort the calves.

Regardless said Solangi, “We’re like to see many more of these calves washed ashore,” before calving season ends in May.

Are Dolphins the Next Endangered Species?
From Times Square Chronicles Feb 22, 2011 are dying, baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length. They are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines at ten times the normal rate of stillborn and infant deaths. So far seventeen have either aborted before they reached maturity or die soon after birth. They are collecting along the shorelines.

The Institute of Marine Mammal Studies performed necropsies, animal autopsies, on two of the babies. Moby Solangi, Director of the Institute, called the high number of deaths an anomaly and stated that it was significant, especially in light of the BP oil spill throughout the spring and summer last year when millions of barrels of crude oil containing toxins and carcinogens spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil worked its way into the Mississippi and Chandeleur sounds where dolphins breed and give birth.

This is the first birthing season for dolphins since the spill.

Dolphins breed in the spring and carry their young for 11 to 12 months. “For some reason, they’ve started aborting or died before birth,” Solangi said. “The average is one or two a month. This year we have seventeen and February isn’t even over yet.”

Deaths in the adult dolphin population rose in the year of the oil spill from a norm of about 30 to 89.

In Mexico, BP says the Gulf of Mexico will recover from the oil spill by 2012, but a scientist from the American Association for the Advancement of Science doesn’t think so. Marine life was “devastated” by the spill. In some places, there is a layer 10 centimeters thick of dead animals and oil. The layer was deposited between June and September 2010 and there’s no sign of sea life on the ocean floor.

Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia surveyed 2,600 square miles of sea floor. She estimated that the amount of methane gas released into the water is the equivalent of about 1.5 and 3 million barrels of oil.

To quote Joni Mitchell:

Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you’ve got

Till it’s gone.

But really, what could live in this mess?


I remember one of the most common statements during the height of the ‘spill’ coverage was “We just don’t know what the result s will be from using this much dispersant at these depths”.  According to EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman, the EPA DID know that Corexit is extremely toxic, increasing the toxicity of the crude 11 times and actually creating entirely new toxic chemical compunds.  If this dispersant is strong enough to break the bonds of crude oil, imagine what it does to living organisms.

These baby dolphins are a canary in the coal mine.


See Also:

Baby sperm whale washes ashore in Gulf

Dolphin Calves Dying in the Gulf : Discovery News

What’s Killing the Dolphins? |

Expert: We’re likely to see MANY MORE baby dolphins washing ashore

Oil eating bacteria may be to blame for baby dolphin deaths says expert

BP Oil and Corexit Dispersant Still In Gulf of Mexico – Linda Moulton Howe

Connecting Dots: 46 ppm of toxic parts of crude oil found in jellyfish eaten by bottlenose dolphins:

Scientist Confirms Gulf “Oil Rain” Is Real: Leifer thinks this oil rain is an unprecedented oil spill phenomenon

Strangeness in Florida Panhandle: Ocean glowing blue and “red tide” that’s not blooming

“I have toxic levels of five separate toxins associated with the oil spill and the dispersant that was used afterward”

BP oil spill’s health effects will be felt for generations, scientist warns

Dead / Jailed Scientists Affiliated With The BP Oil Disaster:


One thought on “More Dead Dolphins in the Gulf Raises Questions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s