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Sunday, May 2, 2010

As oil spill approaches, dead animals wash up in Mississippi

As oil spill approaches, dead animals wash up in Mississippi

by The Associated Press, May 2, 2010Dead turtle.JPGView full sizeInstitute of Marine Mammal Sciences researchers gather data before collecting a dead sea turtle on the beach in Pass Christian, Miss., Sunday, May 2, 2010. At rear are researchers (L-R) Kelly Folkedahl, Justin Main and Meagan Broadway. The researchers were collecting dead turtles and will examine them to determine the cause of death. PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. -- Gus Holliman has spent the last two days riding the beaches in this coastal Mississippi town, hoping not to find dead animals.

On Saturday the sea turtles started washing up on shore. On Sunday, the turtles were joined by dead catfish, horseshoe crabs, and birds -- a duck, a pelican and a seagull.

Before the April 20, 2010, rig explosion and oil started pouring into the Gulf, the city might see a small turtle wash up every six months -- one that got caught in a net, or died from some natural cause, said Holliman, a City of Pass Christian patrol officer, who works the harbor.

"But we've never seen this many," he says, shaking his head. "Something's going on; we just don't know what."

The animals don't appear to be coated in oil, but some of the turtles have damaged shells. Though sea turtles can be seen out near the barrier islands, no one is sure where these dead ones are coming from.

The dead animals are being bagged and taken to the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies, where scientists are trying to determine what caused their deaths. So far, there are no answers.

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See continuing coverage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 on and

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To see updated projection maps related to the oil spill in the Gulf, visit the Deepwater Horizon Response Web site established by government officials.

How to help: Volunteers eager to help cope with the spill and lessen its impact on the Gulf Coast environment and economy.

HOW YOU CAN HELP will appear daily in The Mississippi Press until there is no longer a need for volunteers in response to the oil spill disaster. If you have suggestions for a story, or if you belong to an organization in need of such help, please call Mississippi Press Executive Editor Gareth Clary at 228-934-1429 or e-mail him at

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