New Orleans, La. – More than 350 turtles have been collected, most of which were dead. Those rescued are taken to wildlife stations for cleaning and observation. Barbara Schroeder is the national sea turtle coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"We're actually seeing a lot of animals, and we know we're not seeing a lot of animals because of where they are, well offshore. They're small. There is significant mortality occurring offshore. We're not going to be able to count that very well, and we can't see it very well."
Some of the rescued turtles are being taken to the Audubon Nature Institute's facility on the West Bank that cares for endangered species. Senior veterinarian Robert Maclean says turtles are voracious eaters of jellyfish, so their absence would be felt in the food chain.
"If you decimate turtles that actually eat these Man-o-war maybe you'd have an increase in those. It's really hard to know the biology and the environmental impact of these sea turtles is really not known."
Maclean says all of the turtle species living in the Gulf are either endangered or threatened - and that was before the oil spill.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming