dolphins swimming near an oil rig in Santa Barbara, California; photo by ah zut (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Oil-covered dolphins have been spotted swimming in the Gulf of Mexico exhibiting both unusually agitated and ‘sluggish’ behavior. Both journalists and professional dolphin spotters have noticed dolphins ‘acting drunk’, some with their dorsal fins encrusted in reddish crude.

When we realized what we had discovered, we called Daryl Carpenter, owner of Reelscreamers, and asked him if anyone else had noticed the oiled dolphins or reported it. Carpenter said that news crews had taken video footage, but he did not know if any of the images had been broadcast. So far none of the images have surfaced, and wildlife officials, if they know about this situation, have been mum.

– Georgianne Nienaber, Huffington Post

Harmful, toxic chemicals in the oil are poisonous to dolphins as they are to humans, who have experienced nausea, dizziness and confusion simply by breathing fumes coming from the oil leaking from the breached BP oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. The dolphins, since they live in the water, have no choice but to swim through it.

Read more on this story in the Huffington Post article entitled ‘New Photos Show Oil-Soaked Dolphins Struggling in Barataria Bay, Louisiana’ by Georgianne Nienaber.

Here is a short video report from BBC News regarding the situation with these intelligent and sensitive animals, who are struggling to live through the BP oil spill tragedy.

US oil spill in Gulf ‘making dolphins act drunk’