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Baby Dolphin Deaths Continue Dramatic Climb

At least 77 baby dolphin deaths have now been reported to have washed ashore in the past week.  We reported the dolphin deaths when the news first came to our attention a week ago.  With the report now coming to at least 4 times as many as originally noted, and considering the other factors (such as far more bodies that never made it to shore, offshore species, etc.) we would be amiss not to consider this a disaster, amidst the terrible results of the use of Corexit and BP’s oil spill.

One report states that “the remains of 77 animals – nearly all bottlenose dolphins” were found.  The exceptions are of great concern.  As we mentioned in the previous article on the subject, the ocean is a great scavenger.  Stillborn babies’ bodies wouldn’t be as likely to make it all the way to the Gulf shores from 100+ miles offshore, which means it’s likely there are MANY times that many dolphins dying at or before birth… as if the 77 weren’t enough.

For now, there’s not much we can do but hope that the ocean heals.  But please do make it a point to press the government HARD about prohibiting the use of Corexit in the US ever again.  This deadly chemical is already banned in the UK, has been for  a decade or more.  We must not allow it to be used — BY ANY MEANS — ever again!

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Exponentially High Baby Dolphin Deaths in the Gulf

Signs of Horrors to Come?

In the latest of repercussions from the BP debacle in the Gulf of Mexico, we got word of baby dolphins washing up dead on the shores Mississippi and Alabama — at ten times the normal rate of stillborn mortality.  The Sun Herald reports that 17 babies less than 3 feet in length have been found, premature or stillborn.  Unfortunately, that’s only part of the story.  The ocean recycles very efficiently; many more dead babies likely never made it to the shore. This being the first of the babies to be born since the spill, we have no real idea how far-reaching the devastation may be.

Dead Baby Dolphin

This is one of a score of dead baby dolphins that washed up on the shores of the Gulf earlier this week.

Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies, confirmed that the death rate is highly abnormal, and informs that it appears that most were born premature.  Some were aborted at that time, others were stillborn.  Other points made are that some of the bruising that might have made it appear to be trauma was likely from the mothers trying to push the babies to the surface and get them to breathe.

It is not uncommon to sight one, maybe two stillborn dolphins a year.  That there have been a score found on shore already is pretty solid proof that this is a significant anomaly.  It may also be a warning that we, too, are at risk from the oil and Corexit.  Just because we don’t live IN the water doesn’t mean it’s not affecting us as well.

This is amongst the results of the use of Corexit and the oil spill itself.  We see it because we notice something as large as a baby dolphin floating on in to shore.  To be sure, many millions of other living things have been lost, and their offspring dead.  As Protect The Ocean warned last summer, the use of Corexit has made a tragic event  into a full-blown disaster of epic proportions.  We are just now beginning to see the effects of this myopic decision.  Corporate greed must never be allowed to choose and control the choices made in our planet’s waters again.
Scientists continue to discover even greater areas of Gulf floor covered in oil that was kept from rising by Corexit.  In the places where it is found, what should be breeding grounds for the next generation of ocean flora and fauna to come, the ocean floor is lifeless, dead.   Some may want to claim that this is not empirical proof.  We cannot afford to wait for any more decisive evidence than has already been seen.

Remember: As go the oceans, so go we all.  What happens in the Gulf effects every one of us, eventually.  Please support efforts to ban the use of Corexit in the States and abroad, as has already been successfully done in the UK a decade ago.

As the dolphin families mourn the loss of their infant children, we mourn their loss as our own, and hope that the ocean is able to recover soon from the horrors we have released upon it.

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Corexit Letter from Louisiana Senator to Obama

1/16/2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
The President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Re: The environmental impact of dispersing Corexit during and after the oil spill

Dear Mr. President;

The BP incident in the Gulf of Mexico has now been acknowledged as the greatest manmade disaster in history but there is yet another manmade disaster that must not be overlooked and has not been adequately addressed in the recently released report of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

That second major disaster has been caused by the unnecessary use of the toxin Corexit dispersant. In early May of 2010 just after the crisis began, I requested that our Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell use whatever legal means were necessary to stop the use of this toxin. Shortly thereafter, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal requested that the use of this toxic dispersant be discontinued because of the long-term environmental damage. And still later, it was reported in the media that you also ordered BP to stop using Corexit. Surprisingly, I also read in the media that they even refused your request.

Mr. President, my concern is that this toxic and damaging chemical is still being used and it will compound the long-term damage to our state, our citizens, our eco-system, our economy, our seafood industry, our wildlife and our culture. Read more