Gannet BP oil victim, more will follow

This is a video about Northern gannets nesting.

From Reuters news agency:

Wildlife rescue teams ready for US oil spill victims

01-05-2010 By Steve Gorman, Reuters, UK

LOS ANGELES, May 1 – The first known wildlife casualty of the massive oil spill threatening the U.S. Gulf Coast was a single Northern Gannet seabird, found alive but coated in the toxic grime creeping ashore along Louisiana’s coast.

That bird, recovered offshore on Friday and taken to an emergency rehabilitation center to be cleaned up and nursed back to health, is only the tip of a potential calamity facing the region’s birds, sea turtles and marine mammals.

Besides the rescued Gannet, and several sperm whales seen swimming in and around the oil slick earlier, no “confirmed animal impacts” have been reported, yet, Dr. Michael Ziccardi, a veterinarian overseeing some of the wildlife rescue teams in the region, said in a telephone interview from Houma, Louisiana.

But, he added soberly: “That is not going to stay the same. We are expecting many more (casualties) in the days to come. We hope that number is not catastrophic. We’re … hoping for the best but planning for the worst.”

Ziccardi is director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network in California, a hub for the world’s leading experts in capturing and caring for oil-soaked sea life.

Fishermen Sign On to Clean Up Oil: here.

USA: During the 2008 election the Republicans, raising their angry voices, were all chanting “Drill Baby Drill” as the solution to America’s energy needs. Now with 200,000 gallons of oil a day pouring into the Gulf the reality of why we need to get away from oil is washing up on our shores: here.

Gulf Oil Catastrophe: BP Downplayed Risk; Govt. May Have Moved Too Slowly: here.

Unanswered Questions on the Spill: here.

BP and Shell ‘not meeting safety standards on North Sea oil rigs’: here.

Map here.

7 thoughts on “Gannet BP oil victim, more will follow

  1. Many endangered turtles dying on Texas Gulf Coast


    Kemps Ridley AP – A rescued Kemp’s ridley turtle is readied for release on the beach Monday, April 26, 2010 on the Bolivar …

    By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI, Associated Press Writer Ramit Plushnick-masti, Associated Press Writer – Fri Apr 30, 5:22 pm ET

    HIGH ISLAND, Texas – Flies buzz everywhere and the stench is overwhelming as biologist Lyndsey Howell stops to analyze the remains of yet another endangered sea turtle washed up from the Gulf of Mexico. “It’s been on the beach for a while,” Howell says, flipping over the decomposing, dried-out shell.

    More than 30 dead turtles have been found stranded on Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula south of Houston this month — an unusually high number that has puzzled researchers, in part because most are so decomposed that there are few clues left about why they died.

    The number of strandings on these shores is double what scientists and volunteers normally see as the turtles begin nesting in April, says Howell, who patrols the beaches as part of her job with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Of the 35 turtles found, all but three were dead. Thirty-three were Kemp’s ridleys, an endangered species researchers have spent decades trying to rehabilitate.

    Many of the turtles appear to have propeller wounds from boats or have become entangled in fishing nets or lines, Howell says. Others have parasites or are emaciated.

    The increase in deaths comes as the turtles swim closer to shore to nest and shrimping season gets into full swing along the upper Texas coast, said Roger Zimmerman, lab director of the NOAA marine fishery laboratory in Galveston.

    “Historically, they increase about this time of year. … This is a few more than we would normally expect,” Zimmerman said. “We are concerned and we’ll keep an eye on it.”

    Researchers are also watching the massive oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. If the oil were to begin moving in the direction of the Texas Gulf — which isn’t predicted at the moment — many Kemp’s ridleys swimming in to nest would be right in its path. In 1979, after an oil spill off the coast of Mexico, Kemp’s ridleys were airlifted to cleaner waters.

    Shrimping has long been blamed for sea turtle deaths. Shrimpers are required to install grid-like devices in their nets that are designed to allow turtles to escape. Shrimpers caught without the turtle excluder devices — or TEDs — may be fined thousands of dollars and have their catch seized by federal regulators.

    Still, some are reluctant to invest $800 on the TEDs or are angry over the extra work they create aboard the shrimp boats, so they gamble they won’t be caught.

    “When there is more shrimp, there are more turtle strandings,” Zimmerman said. “That correlation has been well-documented.”

    Educating fishermen, the public and shrimpers about preserving Kemp’s ridleys is part of a new federal recovery plan expected to be approved in the coming months. The goal is to upgrade the Kemp’s ridleys from endangered to threatened within six years — but that depends on having 10,000 nesting females per season. Currently, there are about 6,000.

    Nesting season begins in mid-April and lasts into July. Most Kemp’s ridleys nest on a beach in Mexico or at Padre Island in south Texas. But increasing numbers have been seeking out the shores of Galveston and Bolivar.

    Howell and Zimmerman hope the deaths indicate the population has increased and even more turtles are heading toward the Texas Gulf Coast to nest.

    But there’s no knowing for certain.

    “This is a needle-in-a-haystack thing,” said Andre Landry, a marine biology professor at Texas A&M University in Galveston. “It’s a difficult situation, pinpointing a cause of death in an animal that may be compromised by decomposition.”


    On the Net:

    NOAA Fisheries Service Galveston Laboratory:

    Kemp’s ridley sea turtle:


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