Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Endangered Species List -- It's Not Just About Wildlife

Although its been several days since posting an entry here, I've actually written two, but decided at the last minute, to submit them as possible "Op Eds" to the New York Times.

The Times won't accept anything for publication that is already out in public venue.

While it is extremely unlikely that the Times will publish my personal submissions, (in which case, I will post here later in the week) I am hopeful that the paper will publish something that deals with the main subject matter of these entries:

That is, the very real threat that the current oil disaster in the Gulf can (and most likely will) result in extinction for Brown Pelicans, the state bird of Louisiana.

Brown Pelicans almost went extinct in the late 60's. This was mainly due to hunting, destruction of habitat and the harmful effects of DDT. But, then efforts were made to bring the birds back. DDT was banned, Brown Pelicans were added to the Endangered Species List and a protective rock barrier was created around Queen Bess Island (along the Louisiana coast) the favorite breeding ground for Brown Pelicans.

The efforts were successful and six months ago, the Brown Pelican was removed from the Endangered Species List.

My Op-Eds to the Times call for Brown Pelicans to be re-listed to the Endangered Species List as their recovery and survival chances after this catastrophic oil spill in the waters they feed from and the areas they breed, are in grave doubt.

Reality is, that even if rescued, cleaned up and released to other areas, such as Florida, the Pelicans are almost guaranteed to return to their homing (and now toxic) breeding grounds.

The outlook is extremely bleak for these magnificent birds (who are a vital part of the food chain and who mate for life) unless immediate and decisive steps are taken to help insure their protection and priority!

So far, 567 birds have been found dead in the Louisiana Gulf coast (with numbers growing alarmingly everyday.) Most have been identified as Brown Pelicans, but some are so oil-drenched they are beyond recognition.

86 Brown Pelicans (still breathing) have been picked up, but it is uncertain how many of those birds will ultimately live. There is a planned release tomorrow for some of the birds who have been successfully cleaned up, but as noted, Pelicans' normal "homing" instincts leave their long term survival in doubt.

It is important to not only write letters on this issue to the media, but also to contact our Senators, Representatives and the President to demand that Brown Pelicans be immediately re-added to the Endangered Species List.

BP can't list animals to the Endangered Species List (and truly should NOT be charge of their rescues or the Gulf clean-up!). Only our federal political leaders can.

Please contact the President and your elected national leaders first thing on Monday (you can get their names and contact information from the League of Women Voters) and demand, not only for Brown Pelicans to be re-added to the Endangered Species List, but ALSO that the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammals Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Act Treaty be ENFORCED.

Reality is, that had these laws been followed in the first place, we would not be facing the horrible tragedy we are now in the Gulf.

Sperm whales are on the Endangered Species List. BP was required by law to get permits before drilling in areas where there are protected species. Since Sperm Whales swim in Gulf waters, the likelihood is that BP would never have been granted federal permit to drill as it would have violated this important law of protection and put Sperm Whales under threat!

So, if anyone thinks this is just about birds, whales or other endangered wildlife, think again.

The oil spill that should have never occurred in the first place (had laws been followed) now threatens the entire Gulf coast and the health and livelihoods of its human as well as animal inhabitants. --PCA


1 comment:

Shellie said...

Anyone who does not believe this is truly a tragedy is certainly misguided and seemingly wearing blinders. Do you like seafood? It may not be available in the future. How many species will ultimately face extinction? Even aquatic life that is "saved" may be unable to reproduce due to the petroleum. And if they are able to lay their eggs, the eggs quite possibly may not hatch due to shell defects from the oil. Not only birds, but sea mammals and reptiles will be affected.
The ocean is not a contained system, like a swimming pool. Eventually the oil will be carried worldwide by ocean currents. Some oil will probably attach to water droplets that evaporate into the atmosphere, contaminating rainfall, which will in turn contaminate the soil, which in turn will contaminate the ground-water supply. Humans who consume oil-contaminated water face the possibility of liver failure, as the body can not process petroleum and eliminate it. The process is endless, and the repercussions of this will be felt by most, if not all species, worldwide for generations to come. This is truly a disaster of global proportions.