Four years after the BP oil spill disaster, dolphins are still dying.
A recent peer-review study that was published in Environmental Science & Technology found that the dolphins in the Barataria Bay are in the worst shape of any in a wild population. This study, dubbed 'Health of Common Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill', is based off of the temporary catching and studying of some 32 dolphins after the BP oil spill who happen to reside in those waters.
Through this research it was found that the dolphins the bay are "five times more likely to have moderate–severe lung disease, generally characterized by significant alveolar interstitial syndrome, lung masses, and pulmonary consolidation. Of 29 dolphins evaluated from Barataria Bay, 48% were given a guarded or worse prognosis, and 17% were considered poor or grave, indicating that they were not expected to survive”.
While there are always diseases in wild populations, the findings of this study prove that half the dolphins living in this bay are at a much graver risk for illness and death. When you look at these facts, it is hard to imagine the survival of these family pods. Even more so, one of the females studied was found to be carrying a dead fetus!
Yet still BP insists their hands are clean. In a statement from the company, BP had this to say about the matter "[the company] has been funding NOAA's work on this subject for over three years and requesting data throughout this period. The agency still has not provided BP with any data demonstrating that the alleged poor health of any dolphins was caused by oil exposure."