We all want as many wildlife as possible rescued from the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster. Unfortunately, BP and the government are not doing enough to rescue oiled birds, turtles, whales and other wildlife.
Although wildlife rescuers are working tirelessly, there are far too few people and resources to find and save all wildlife in this vast area. In addition, rules and red tape are stopping qualified wildlife rescuers from helping to save injured wildlife.
Oiled brown pelican captured in Barataria Bay
According to the Gulf Restoration Network, untrained cleanup crews are trampling nests, eggs and wildlife habitat. GRN staff person Raleigh Hoke says “recently, we began receiving reports of inadequately trained BP contractors crushing bird eggs and disturbing tern nests in coastal areas.”
Over 80 days into this disaster, the death toll is rising. According to NOAA Fisheries, rescuers have found over 1,900 dead birds, 463 dead turtles, and 59 dead marine mammals, including an endangered sperm whale. Many, many, many more have been injured or killed and not recovered.
Threatened and endangered sperm whales and sea turtles struggle to breathe as they swim through coastal waters. Endangered species such as the brown pelican, piping plover, and least tern are breeding and nesting along this vulnerable coast. At least 36 national wildlife refuges and 40 endangered species will be negatively impacted.
In addition, BP cleanup operations may be further harming endangered species like brown pelicans, least terns, and sea turtles. We’ve heard reports that BP contractor cleanup crews have crushed nests and eggs and places boom in places that harm wildlife habitat. To increase the response times and improve survival rates for injured wildlife, we must increase the number of trained personnel, resources and boats.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, state agencies and other wildlife rescuers are working hard to save wildlife and they need our help. It is of the utmost urgency that government agencies be armed with the resources they need in order to address the impacts of the oil spill on our ocean, coasts and wildlife. They need more trained people to adequately monitor and respond to the wildlife impacts. BP must pay all costs of government and non-profit rescue operations.