Oil's Gruesome Toll on Wildlife Slowly Emerging

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Oil's Gruesome Toll on Wildlife Slowly Emerging


A bird covered in oil flailing in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast today. (Charlie Riedel, AP

and reports of oil-drenched wildlife that's dead or slowly dying are
starting to emerge. At least one cleanup worker alleges that BP is
trying to keep such disturbing pictures out of the public eye.A bird covered in oil flailing in the surf at East Grand Terre Island along the Louisiana coast today The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports
that 522 dead birds have been found along the Gulf Coast. At least 38
were oiled, 365 do not show any visible oil and the remaining 119 are

So far 82 oiled birds have been rescued - 63 in Louisiana, 10 in Alabama, eight in Florida and one in Mississippi.

CBS News has gut-wrenching video of oil-covered birds in distress, including the brown pelican, Louisiana's state bird, which for many years was on the Endangered Species List.

An unidentified cleanup worker took a New York Daily News reporter on a clandestine tour of the hidden wildlife carnage in Louisiana, accusing the BP of keeping the media at bay.

is a lot of coverup for BP. They specifically informed us that they
don't want these pictures of the dead animals. They know the ocean will
wipe away most of the evidence. It's important to me that people know
the truth about what's going on here," the contractor said. "The things
I've seen: They just aren't right. All the life out here is just full
of oil. I'm going to show you what BP never showed the president."

After checking that he was unobserved, he motored out to Queen Bess barrier island, known to the locals as Bird Island.

The grasses by the shore were littered with tarred marine life, some dead and others struggling under a thick coating of crude.

you see some of the things I've seen, it would make you sick," the
contractor said. "No living creature should endure that kind of

Queen Bess Island was the first place where
fledglings were born when the beloved, endangered Louisiana brown
pelicans were reintroduced in the 1970s. Their population rebounded and
was finally declared stabilized in 2002.

Now their future is once
again in doubt. In what had been such an important hatchery, hundreds
of pelicans - their white heads stained black - stood sentinel. They
seemed slow and lethargic.

More oil-soaked birds arrived at cleaning stations today, as Louisiana officials continued to patrol the marshes and beaches.

Meanwhile, federal wildlife experts released two rescued and cleaned birds back into the wild,
raising the total to 24. There are, however, no guarantees they won't
again become mired in the spreading oil as they go about their natural

See which creatures - and how many - are at risk.


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