BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Good news may be on the horizon, as the dolphin die-off is declining for the first time after oil spill that ravaged the marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20th, 2010 and flowed for a number of 87 days.
The consequences were devastating to the environment of the surrounding marine life. It damaged the health of multiple animals, with an estimated of over 8,000 species living within the spill area. This has gathered the combined efforts of multiple organizations to attempt cleaning up the site, and offering a chance at avoiding long-term consequences to marine animals.
The Gulf of Mexico is reportedly the home to an estimated number of 10,000 dolphins. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, a number of 1,433 dolphins and whales died because of the exposure to the harmful substance. And, among them, 87% were bottlenose dolphins.
Some of the specimens either washed ashore lifeless, stillborn or born prematurely, which has raised concerns from environmental organizations. Scientists have stated that their massive die-off could be attributed to numerous reasons caused by the spill. For one, the exposure could have led to absorbing the oil through the skin, inhaling its vapors, ingesting it directly, or from feeding on oil-contaminated fish.
Or, it could have caused a bacterial infection that compromised their immune system, and made them much more vulnerable to diseases.
This has led to a drastic decline in their numbers, but it seems the plummet is coming to an end. For the first time in 5 years, the die-off is reported to be coming to a close. And hopefully, it’s true.
According to biologist in the organization, Jenny Litz, the number of mortalities seem to have peaked between 2010 and 2014. This year, 2015, could be the moment when that officially ends, and the numbers will improve.
However, scientists are reluctant to officially cap it off. It’s a matter that will be debated, but it appears that it is indeed possible that some of the consequences are slowly fading out. There are numerous studies planned on the long-term effects of the oil spill on marine life.
Researchers hope to gain better understanding of how it affected the survivors as well.
Regardless, it will still go down in history as “the largest, and longest dolphin mortality event ever in the Gulf of Mexico”. Its effects are not over. They’ve just finally stopped progressing, and with a gradual slow, perhaps they would come to a stop, and marine animals will be given a chance at recovery.
Image source: nature.com