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Decades After The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Local Dolphins Are Still Suffering

Published: February 19, 2021
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An oil rig explosion off the coast of Louisiana killed eleven workers on 20 April 2010. The world then watched helplessly as BP's oil gushed out into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, killing untold millions of marine animals.

Dolphins that survived one of the worst environmental disasters ever, still appear to be suffering the effects over a decade later.

Comparing populations of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) of Barataria Bay in Louisiana that live within the area of oil exposure to populations from Sarasota Bay in Florida, which haven't been exposed to serious pollution, researchers have found there are still troubling health differences between them.

Previous studies have already revealed the shorter-term impacts of the oil spill on the Barataria Bay dolphins, including abnormal adrenal function, lung disease, impaired reproduction, immune system problems and decreased survival. Dolphins living within the spill area only gave birth to living calves 19 percent of the time.

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