Marine Mystery

By Susan Aiello • Published: June 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

The recent oil spill in the Gulf was a tragedy that killed 11 workers and disrupted the local economy. But did it also cause irreparable harm to the sea turtle population?

Several hundred dead or injured turtles were found in the weeks after the disaster. Experts have been working to determine how much of this turtle tragedy was from the spill or possibly from other causes as well.

Beached turtles are common around spring nesting, and intensive searches may have recorded more than usual. Some turtles may have been injured by shrimpers rushing to get to the crustaceans before the oil did. In addition, experts can’t rule out poisoning from chemicals that were used to disperse the slick.

The impact on breeding or food supplies is also still uncertain, adding to this seaworthy turtle mystery.