New research has revealed that dolphins living an area affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill are now struggling to give birth to young.
The US government study looked closely at the population of common bottlenose in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, an area that was covered in slicks at the time of the disaster. Scientists tracked the health of the population for four years, including 10 pregnant dolphins. Only two of the dolphins went on to give birth to calves.
Previous government-led studies have shown diseases found in dolphins around the Barataria Bay area were consistent with exposure to oil. These include lung disease and hormonal abnormalities, and of those dolphins studied by the scientists, up to 17% were expected to die of illness related to oil pollution.