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News Link • Environment

Barataria Bay Dolphins Severely Ill

•, By Julia Whitty

The bottlenose dolphins of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, are showing signs of severe ill health, according to a report from NOAA.

I wrote about the fate of these resident dolphins at the height of the BP's oil disaster in my Mother Jones' piece The BP Cover Up.

Barataria Bay, as you likely remember, in the northern Gulf of Mexico, was horrifically polluted by prolonged exposure to oil during the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Here's what NOAA says about the latest problems affecting dolphins there:

Based on comprehensive physicals of 32 live dolphins from Barataria Bay in the summer of 2011, preliminary results show that many of the dolphins in the study are underweight, anemic, have low blood sugar and/or some symptoms of liver and lung disease. Nearly half also have abnormally low levels of the hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function. Researchers fear that some of the study dolphins are in such poor health that they will not survive. One of these dolphins, which was last observed and studied in late 2011, was found dead in January 2012.

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