Spill Exacts Horrific Toll on Wildlife

Scientists warn of worst-case scenario as oil soaks La. marshes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2010 5:00 AM CDT
Spill Exacts Horrific Toll on Wildlife
A dead oil-covered dolphin lies on the ground in Venice, La.    (AP Photo/Plaquemines Parish Government)

As oil washes into Louisiana's marshes, the Gulf leak is starting to look more like a "real oil spill"—with all the horrific damage to wildlife that entails, scientists say. Hundreds of dead, oil-soaked birds have been found on the Louisiana coast, along with dozens of dead turtles and dolphins, and researchers say this is just a fraction of the total.

The head of Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says he has seen dozens of pelicans on remote islands trying in vain to get the oil off their wings. "They think this is water sticking to their wings, but it's not, and they can't get it off," he tells the Washington Post. "It's heart-wrenching, when you grow up in Louisiana and you are in love with this part of the world. It just is a blow in the pit of your stomach." (More Gulf oil spill stories.)

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