Monday, July 5, 2010

Whale Sharks Seen In Gulf Oil Spill

More and more sea creatures are being effected by the oil spill. Whale sharks have been spotted swimming near the Deepwater Horizon.

The three sharks did not appear distressed and their white-spotted hides were not visibly oiled, said Steve Gittings of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who saw them on a flight Monday to locate oiled sea turtles for rescuers in boats.

"They look like skimmer boats when they're feeding," Carlson said.

Gittings said the three he saw, which he estimated at about 25 feet long, were about 4 miles from the sunken Deepwater Horizon, in an area where skimmer boats were slurping the heaviest oil.

"There's no continuous area of heavy oil. But there's so many streamers they couldn't avoid swimming through those streamers," he said.

The question now is how many of the creatures are dying in the oil, said Eric Hoffmayer of the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab, who has studied whale sharks in the northern Gulf since 2002.

"Taking mouthfuls of thick oil is not conducive to them surviving," he said.

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