May 25th, 2010
04:49 PM ET

Experts: Oil spill could be disaster for animals

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/25/art.pelicans.getty.jpg caption="Brown pelicans sit behind an oil boom surrounding their island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana."]

Ashley Hayes

A huge oil spill oozing toward the Gulf Coast on Thursday threatens hundreds of species of wildlife, some in their prime breeding season, environmental organizations said.

The Coast Guard said Wednesday that the amount of oil spilling from an underwater well after an oil rig explosion last week has increased to as many as 5,000 barrels of oil a day, or 210,000 gallons, five times more than what was originally believed.

Although efforts to minimize the damage are under way and options under consideration include asking the U.S. military for assistance, wildlife conservation groups say the oil could pose a "growing environmental disaster."

"The terrible loss of 11 workers (unaccounted for after the rig explosion) may be just the beginning of this tragedy as the oil slick spreads toward sensitive coastal areas vital to birds and marine life and to all the communities that depend on them," said Melanie Driscoll, director of bird conservation for the Louisiana Coastal Initiative, in a statement.

Coastal areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could be at risk, the organization said.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Kirsten Verdi, San Antonio, TX

    Could be a disaster.....it has been a disaster for wildlife from day one!

    May 26, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  2. Reba Armstrong

    What is most depressing for me about this horrific oil spill is the milions of animals that will meet a gruesome death thanks to our greed, which has spawned negligence on the part of the fed when it comes to regulations, a lack of a plan or equipment for such a disaster (How stupid can we be?), and outright corruption on BP's part. We, the people, are the ones responsible for the horrendous deaths of our precious, innocent, and beautiful wildlife.

    May 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  3. Eugenia - San Francisco

    Your joking right?
    Oil spill could be a disaster for animals.
    how can you even state that?
    do realize how naive that makes you sound?

    May 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm |