Good news for turtles and other wildlife! On Friday, conservation groups reached an agreement with BP and the Coast Guard to rescue turtles before burning oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
Thank you for helping to stop the horrible practice of burning turtles alive. Thousands of you wrote to the Obama Administration asking them to rescue all wildlife in the Gulf.
The BP oil spill disaster has already killed thousands of turtles, dophins, fish, birds and other wildlife. According to NOAA Fisheries, 494 turtles have been found stranded, 377 of which were found dead. Rescuers have also found a dead endangered sperm whale, 49 stranded dolphins, and over 1,600 oiled birds.
Unfortunately, BP's clean up operations were also killing wildlife. Many turtles were being captured by boom and caught in the fires to remove the oil. Turtle researchers from NOAA Fisheries, state wildlife agencies, and local boat captains reported not being allowed to search for wildlife before the oil was set on fire.
Last week, Endangered Species Coalition member organizations the Center for Biological Diversity, Sea Turtle Restoration Project and the Animal Welfare Institute filed a lawsuit accusing BP of violating the Endangered Species Act. In the settlement to the suit, BP agreed to ensure measures to rescue sea turtles from the surface before setting fire to oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP must now work with sea turtle experts to put in place a scientifically-sound plan to protect endangered sea turtles. This is great news, especially for the highly endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles who have suffered greatly in the oil spill.
BP must do more to rescue endangered species. They must increase the number of boats and personnel on the water rescuing all wildlife encountered in oil spill operations and transport them immediately to one of the many rehabilitation centers available.
The Endangered Species Coalition and our member organizations will continue to put pressure on BP and the government to rescue endangered species in the Gulf of Mexico.
For more information on the impact of the oil spill on endangered species, what conservationists are doing to save wildlife and how you can help, visit http://oilspillwildlife.org/