UC Davis veterinarian professor Michael Ziccardi has been overseeing turtle and marine mammal rescue teams in Louisiana. He says so far, they’ve only found three oiled turtles…all alive and recovering.
But they’ve also found an unusually high number of un-oiled dead animals: more than 200 turtles and 20 dolphins. Ziccardi says scientists are still conducting autopsies to verify how the animals died.
“We’re looking to see if the internal exposure to the oil is causing problems. We’re also microscopically evaluating all the tissues. And only then are we going to determine whether or not an animal was indeed impacted by the spill.”
Ziccardi is heading back home for a break after a month in Louisiana…but will return next week for the launch of a much larger search and rescue effort 20-to-30 miles offshore…
“…to try to collect these animals closer to the source. Boats can be deployed to those areas and try to rescue the animals as quickly as possible.”
Ziccardi says even when the flow of oil stops, the number of impacted wildlife is still expected to go up because animals will continue to live with oil that’s already escaped.