There is no doubt that marine life will be impacted by the oil spill. So far seven sperm whales have been spotted in oil infested water. However, the Coast Guard says they don’t appear to be in distress. Once that oil starts washing ashore, wildlife will be in danger.
Michele Kelley is bracing for a few busy months. “Each day was constantly trying to get geared up for the possible, inevitable thing of having stranded animals,” she says.
Michele is the State Animal Training Coordinator and works at the Aquarium of the Americas. She says she’s still not sure how many oil slicked or stranded animals teams will rescue and rehab. “So my main concern is obviously the sea turtles and then the dolphins and whales that are in the Gulf of Mexico right now that quite possibly be swimming in it,” she says.
Another concern is over pelicans and sea birds. If the oil reaches marshes, the impact will be seen even more. “Your alligators, your reptiles. Also, be could be possibly concerned about river otters.”
Michele and other rescue teams across the Gulf Coast are ready to take animals within the next 12 hours. This is a typical turtle cleaning station. And they use Dawn dishwashing soap to clean the animals.
Michele says everyone involved is doing what they can to contain the leak — but the outcome doesn’t look good. That won’t change possibly until the fall. “Then, the residual will be done. We’ll have the animals. We’ll have them rehabbed and everything taken care of.”
If you see any oiled wildlife… You need to call 1-866-557-1401 to report it.