Dead Turtles Washing Up Near Gulf Spill

Experts suspect slick is to blame
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2010 3:11 AM CDT
A dead sea turtle lies on the beach in Pass Christian, Mississippi. The Mississippi Gulf Coast has seen a sharp increase in dead marine life since the Gulf oil spill.   (AP Photo/David Quinn)
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(Newser) – Dozens of dead sea turtles have washed up along the Mississippi coast over the last couple of days and wildlife officials fear the endangered creatures are among the oil spill's first victims. Necropsies on 5 of the turtles have so far turned up no evidence of oil contamination, although experts, noting that the number of dead turtles washed ashore is far higher than normal, believe contaminants could have caused their deaths in hard-to-detect ways.

Huge numbers of dead jellyfish have also been found on beaches near the spill site and authorities are conducting tests to see if the spill caused their deaths, AP reports. The director of Gulfport's Institute of Sea Mammal Studies warns that the slick is heading directly toward the shallow waters where some 5,000 dolphins have gathered for birthing season, the Guardian reports.

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