Oil and Dolphins Don’t Mix

Study: Dolphins In Louisiana’s Barataria Bay Are Much Sicker After the BP Oil Spill.
Pannochka/Shutterstock

Pannochka/Shutterstock

A year after BP’s disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a team of researchers found that dolphins in the vicinity of the spill showed major signs of sickness, a new study says.

According to a new peer-reviewed study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a team of government, academic and non-governmental researchers identified previously unseen health issues in bottlenose dolphins examined in August 2011 in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay.

Researchers examined 32 dolphins, including 29 that received comprehensive physical and ultrasound examinations. Nearly half of the sampled population were identified as being in “guarded or worse” condition, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Another 17 percent were in poor or grave condition and “not expected to survive.” Among the health problems were lung damage and low levels of adrenal stress-response hormones. A quarter of the dolphins were also underweight.

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