sexta-feira, 30 de abril de 2010

Gulf oil spill a huge catastrophe for wildlife, fisheries

 Gulf oil spill a huge catastrophe for wildlife, fisheries
A brown pelican flies near the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the pelican, shorebirds such as cranes and gulls are also at risk from the spill.

The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was starting to ooze ashore Friday, threatening migrating birds, nesting pelicans and marine mammals along Louisiana's fragile islands and barrier marshes.
Overall, the spill imperils hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, one of the world's richest seafood grounds, teeming with shrimp, oysters and other marine life.
"It's home to major, significant fisheries that supply almost 1/3 of the seafood we eat in this country – including almost half of the shrimp," says Susan Kaderka, regional executive director for the National Wildlife Federation in Austin, Texas.
"The wildlife impacts could be quite massive," she says. "It's potentially a huge catastrophe."
Additionally, Kaderka says that late spring is a terrible time for this to be happening, since many species of fish are spawning now, and birds are nesting. "It couldn't be happening at a worse time."

Some of the birds most affected include ducks, geese, as well as hundreds of species of migrating songbirds, which use this ecosystem as part of their journey on their way back from South America. As well, shorebirds such as cranes, gulls, and the brown pelican are also at risk. "It's not a pretty picture," says Kaderka.
Sea turtles are also imperiled by the oil spill, since they need to come up to the water's surface to breathe. 
As for marine mammals, Kaderka reports that the spill threatens dolphins, whales, and sea turtles, since they all have to come up to the surface to breathe.

"It is of grave concern," says David Kennedy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about the spill. "I am frightened. This is a very, very big thing. And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling." 
Contributing: Associated Press 
By Doyle Rice
Image By Kevin Bartram and Gene Blythe, Associated Press
Fonte: Sciencefair

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