Ailing Dolphins May Be Linked to BP Spill

Many turning up in Gulf with variety of diseases, say researchers
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2012 6:43 PM CDT
The BP oil disaster in April 2010.   (AP Photo/US Coast Guard, File)
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(Newser) Another sign that the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is taking a serious toll on the local dolphin population: Researchers conducted physicals on 32 of them last summer in a particularly hard-hit bay and discovered that many suffered from anemia, low blood sugar, low weight, and showed symptoms of lung and liver diseases, reports LiveScience. About half had unusually low levels of hormones needed for immunity.

An official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expressed concerns that many of the dolphins "are in such poor health that they're likely not to survive." In fact, one in the study was later found washed up. The BP spill in April 2010 released 205 million gallons of oil into the Gulf. In two years, 675 dolphins have been stranded ashore in the northern Gulf, most of them dead, compared to the pre-disaster average of 74 per year.

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