Gulf Sperm Whales Face Oil Spill Threats
Experts have spent decades studying the dangers oil development may pose to whales; now the day of reckoning has arrived
By Roger Di Silvestro
FOR YEARS NOW, biologists have feared that oil development in the Gulf of Mexico could harm sperm whales. A small population of fewer than 1,500 sperm whales lives in the gulf year-round; the species was much more numerous there before whaling put a dent in its numbers. Federally listed as endangered, the whales spend much of their time along the continental shelf and in the Mississippi Canyon, a region of deep water off the river delta where prey—mostly fish and squid—congregates. Females and juveniles in particular reportedly favor this area.
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