The Gulf's Dolphin Die-Off

Fact Sheet
April 05, 2012

Over the last two years, an unusually high number of bottlenose dolphins have beached along the shores of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and western Florida, raising enormous concern -- and for good reason. Even in a species known to experience mass mortalities -- from brevetoxin and disease -- the current die-off is unprecedented in its duration and magnitude. This winter, researchers found that bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, an area that was heavily exposed to oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, were underweight and anemic, with suppressed immune systems and signs of liver and lung disease. In this fact sheet, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) compares the new mortalities to prior strandings of Gulf dolphins and probes their connection to the BP spill.