How Gulf wildlife is doing 5 years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster

La vera portata del disastro ambientale è ancora in fase di studio, la National Wildlife Federation ha però pubblicato uno studio sugli impatti sulla biodiversità.

The 20th of April is the sad anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig environmental disaster, the worst in US history. 5 years ago, the oil platform owned by the British Petroleum (BP) exploded during the realisation of a 1,500-metre-deep well in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.


Gulf Oil Spill


The accident killed 11 people and caused the spill of 780 million litres of crude oil that continued until the 15th of July 2010. Disaster’s real damages and effects are still under study. Considered the noteworthy quantity of oil left in the gulf’s sea floor and its unprecedented dispersion, it will take years or even decades to calculate the real environmental impact, according to report published by the National Wildlife Federation last March.


However, the damages caused to wildlife by the oil spill and those it will continue to bring about are evident. According to the report, 12% of the population of brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) of the Gulf of Mexico died as a result of the accident. The birds that survived are still in danger, since they could ingest oil during leathers cleaning or by eating contaminated fish.


Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Response


A prolonged exposure to oil can cause severe long-term damages, such as heart disorders and a minor fertility that will lead to reproduction rates drop. The oil dig explosion also significantly accelerated the erosion of coastal and swamp areas home to pelicans.


The study also assessed the impact on other animal and plant species, such as the common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), the sargassun (Sargassum), the seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus), corals, oysters, and the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), considered as the world’s rarest sea turtle.


Dolphins showed a mortality rate four folds higher than the average, and high possibilities of lung diseases onset, whilst Kemp’s ridley sea turtles’ nests dropped by 35% since 2010, year of the disaster.


piccola tartaruga di kemp


The disaster also had significant effects on man. According to the report, volunteers and workers who participated to the cleaning and contributed to save ecosystems and thousands of animals have now higher risks to develop diseases like cancer”.

Translated by

Siamo anche su WhatsApp. Segui il canale ufficiale LifeGate per restare aggiornata, aggiornato sulle ultime notizie e sulle nostre attività.

Licenza Creative Commons
Quest'opera è distribuita con Licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 4.0 Internazionale.

Related articles
Hundreds of kayaks row against Shell in Seattle

Hundreds of environmental activists filled the Elliott Bay, Seattle, United States, on board of kayaks, protesting against the decision of the Dutch oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, of exploring for oil off Alaska during summer.     Kayakers formed a chain blockading the port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 in order to impede the Polar Pioneer

Traces of fracking fluid in drinking water in the U.S.

Tiny amounts of chemical substances were found in drinking water pouring from the taps of three homes in Pennsylvania, United States. According to a study conducted by the environmental scientists of the Pennsylvania State University, the cause should be ascribed to fracking (hydraulic fracturing) activities promoted by the U.S. Government. The paper was published in the

UK approves ban on cruel trophy hunting imports

The United Kingdom have voted to support Hunting trophies bill, a controversial bill that aims at prohibits importing hunting trophies from thousands of endangered animal body parts of lions, elephant and giraffe’s into the U.K.