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Posted: Friday, 18 April 2014 7:13AM

Evidence shows gulf wildlife continues to suffer 4 years after spill

Easter Sunday this weekend also happens to be the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that began the months-long Gulf oil spill. Marine researchers say some animals are still having trouble because of it.

The National Wildlife Federation has released a report that says dolphins and sea turtles are still dying in high numbers. Senior policy specialist with the federation, Sara Gonzales-Rothi, says the evidence is stronger than ever that dolphins are suffering from effects connected to Deepwater Horizon.
"Dolphins are showing strong evidence of sickness related to BP oil," said Gonzales-Rothi. "So they're anemic, their immune systems are in trouble, they're having lung issues, and their teeth are even falling out."
Gonzales-Rothi points out that gulf-wide, dolphins were having health issues before the spill, and she says studies will continue.
"There's more study going on to determine why dolphins gulf-wide have been sicker since before the spill and continuing throughout the spill and in the years prior," she said.
Roughly 500 stranded sea turtles have been found each year in the area, which Gonzales-Rothi says is significant.: "The reason that the number 500 is significant is that it's very difficult to find stranded sea turtles, so that number is higher than usual."
The report also says oyster reproduction remains low and chemical dispersant used to break up the oil may what is behind the irregular heartbeats found in the larvae of some species of gulf tuna.
(image from NOAA via flickr.com)

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