Researchers agreed that baby dolphins are washing up dead along the oil-soaked US Gulf Coast at more than 10 times the normal rate in the first birthing season since the BP oil spill disaster. 17 baby dolphin corpses have been found along the shorelines of Alabama and Mississippi in only past two weeks.
Moby Solangi, director of the Gulfport, Mississippi-based institute called the high numbers an anomaly and said the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which unleashed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over three months, likely played a key role. The oil from the spill spread through the water column and worked its way into the bays and shallow waters where dolphins breed and give birth.
Scientists from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies are reporting that dead baby dolphins are washing up along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Alabama at 10 times the normal rate. That is, more than the normal number that can be expected to be either stillborn or died in infancy.
Adult dolphin death rate was about 30 a year, but last year this figure tripled to 89. The spike follows a general trend in more unusual mortality events that have occurred in recent decades in the United States.
Featured image: Dead baby dolphin in Ocean View. (Credit: Aaron Kurtz)
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