Kemp’s ridley turtle is species hardest hit by oil disaster

Today the federal agency responsible for monitoring marine species provided for the first time figures for the number of each type of species impacted from BP’s oild drilling disaster.The Gulf Restoration Network has been pressing federal agencies for a species-by-species tally of the wildlife harmed by oil from BP’s as yet uncontrolled blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.Agencies have been providing a daily update of the number of animals collected, dead and alive, during the disaster response. But the agencies only broke their numbers down into four categories: birds, sea turtles, mammals and other reptiles. (As of today, 1,789 birds, 457 sea turtle and 59 marine mammals have been found dead in the spill zone.)Now the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has launched a new website that includes figures for separate species. The new public figures clearly show that the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has been the marine species hardest hit by BP’s oil. Kemp’s ridley turtles account for 476 of the 601 turtles that have been collected dead and alive.As for marine mammals, the vast majority of those found – 53 of 57 – have been Bottlenose dolphins.Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has yet to provide a similar breakdown for bird species impacted by the spill, but a spokesman for the agency did tell GRN last week that most of the 2,874 birds collected thus far have been pelicans.Matthew Preusch is a volunteer with the Gulf Restoration Network.

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