Friday, June 18, 2010

A few rays of hope...

We've all been sickened by all the continuing horrors of the BP oil spill and its perverse effects on the environment. Dead sea turtles floating in pools of oil or washed up limp and lifeless on the oily beaches. Gulls and pelicans doused with oil. The heartbreaking images seem unending.

Still, a few people are trying to do what they can. On June 4 the New York Times carried a story about the rehab work with the brown pelicans of Fort Jackson, Louisiana. Once very common in that area, the brown pelican was nearly wiped out in the 1960's by the effects of DDT pesticides. Since then it has made an amazing comeback, and last year the brown pelican was taken off the endangered species list. Now its existence is threatened again. Rescue workers are trying to prevent that. They have been capturing the birds, as many as possible, some so heavily coated with oil that they cannot stand. They are fed and hydrated and cleaned up, and as of June 4th all of the rescued birds had survived. Please click the link here and read the story for more details.

On June 16 CNN ran video report on the rescue of a nest of 105 Loggerhead turtle eggs laid on Orange Beach, Alabama. The hatchlings would be in danger from the oil as well as from the cleanup efforts. Again, a few people did what they could. They moved and protected the nest, and when the eggs hatch, they will be moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where the water is still clean. Please click here and watch the short video.

I know the efforts of these few good people are only a drop in the proverbial bucket. The number of birds that can be cleaned will be only a small percentage of those that will die. The turtle that laid the eggs has already returned to the oily sea, and one wonders about her fate. And hey, the reason turtles lay so many eggs is that the survival rate of hatching is low even in good times. (Very small turtles are quickly gobbled up by other sea creatures and probably brown pelicans too!) Still, we cling to these few rays of hope that endangered species will survive and that the environment will not be ruined forever.

© 2010, Linda Mason Hood
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