Earlier this month, the AP reported that scientists are concerned over a decline in the number of Kemp's ridley sea turtle nests along the Texas coast. The species is considered the world's most endangered sea turtle.
The decline in nests could be linked to the five-fold increase in sea turtle strandings in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. "Stranding" is a polite term for what is usually a death.
According to an Aug. 12 press release issued by the National Wildlife Federation, data from the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network shows that between 1986 and 2009, an average of nearly 100 sea turtles were found stranded annually in the oil spill area. But since April 2010, each year roughly 500 sea turtles have been found stranded, most of which were the Kemp’s ridleys.
Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the NWF and lead author of the report Restoring A Degraded Gulf of Mexico: Wildlife and Wetlands Three Years into the Gulf Oil Disaster, said:
Sea turtle strandings skyrocketed to about five times the historic level ever since the oil spill began, most of which were Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. Although most of the stranded turtles were young, the BP oil disaster is one of the likely suspects for a decline in nests. We must hold BP accountable for their reckless behavior and we need to use the funds resulting from the disaster to restore sea turtle habitats.
With the second phase of the Deepwater Horizon disaster civil trial starting in September, focus on impacted marine and wildlife is even more critical.
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