Reckoning the wildlife losses

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2010:

Who is compiling the Deepwater Horizon body count?
“Within each of the animal rescue stations set up along the
Gulf Coast is a makeshift morgue for oiled and ill creatures that
didn’t make it,” reported Katy Reckdahl of the New Orleans
Times-Picayune. “Pathologists and laboratory staff are carefully
cataloging each dead creature as part of larger criminal, civil and
scientific inquiries into how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has
affected animals and their habitats.
“The operations cannot be photographed or observed by
outsiders,” Reckdahl said, “because they are part of a massive body
of evidence outlining the harm that the spill has caused wildlife,
in violation of federal laws such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,
Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act.”
Estimates that the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill killed 250,000
sea birds and 2,800 sea otters were developed from collecting and
evaluating the remains of more than 35,000 birds and 1,000 sea
otters. Exxon eventually agreed to pay $100 million as criminal
restitution for harm to wildlife, plus $900 million over 10 years in
settlement of damage suits.

“Anybody who shows up dead will get a necropsy,” response
team member Mike Walsh told Reckdahl. A former Sea World head
veterinarian, Walsh is now associate director of the Aquatic Animal
Health Program at the University of Florida.
The Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration
Program requires the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to produce a
definitive assessment of harm to wildlife and a restoration plan that
will operate at no cost to taxpayers.
In addition to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National
Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic & Atmospheric
Administration, state wildlife agencies, and International Bird
Rescue Center personnel, the Pascagoula River Audubon Center in Moss
Point and the National Audubon Society in early June 2010 trained and
deployed 30 invited volunteers to produce a coastal bird survey based
on comprehensively sampling six one-mile sections of beach.

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