The northern waters of the Gulf of Mexico are extraordinarily rich and diverse but some of the marine, mammals and bird species are in danger of being lost forever. The next installment of LPB’s six-part series Alive! In America’s Delta
is called Endangered in the Gulf and premieres on Tuesday, March 18 at 7PM, followed by an encore showing of Delta Guardians at 8PM. WLAE-TV in New Orleans will air Endangered in the Gulf
on Friday, March 28 at 8:30PM. Principal funding for the series is being provided by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
This special looks at how cutting edge technology is being used to monitor and protect the species that are in jeopardy. For instance, five of the world's seven endangered sea turtle species rely on habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. Other Gulf marine species like the West Indian Manatee, the Gulf Sturgeon, and Sperm and Right Whales are also endangered as are birds such as the Piping Plover and the Least Tern. Other Gulf mammals, such as dolphins, need special protection in the wake of BP Oil Spill.
There have been some major success stories. By 1963, the brown pelican was extinct in Louisiana. Biologists discovered that pesticides like DDT were causing defects in the shells of the birds leading to the death of embryos. After the insecticide was banned in the early 1970s, Louisiana wildlife officials brought in 1,200 young pelicans from Florida and three decades later the pelicans are no longer on the endangered species list.
Five species of sea turtles who reside in the Gulf are also in danger, but the Kemp’s Ridley turtle faces the most hurdles. The requirement that shrimpers use Turtle Exclusion Devices or TEDs have helped this species survive but wildlife officials say the number of deaths have risen in the last four years. With 15,000 identified species in the Gulf, Wildlife and Fisheries personnel say they need the public’s help in reporting injured animals to make sure they get the life-saving treatment they need.
While there have been some success stories, the preservation and protection of the endangered species in the Gulf will always be a work in progress. The Gulf is a resilient system--- but one that needs growing attention if this vital resource for future generations is to be protected.
This program was produced for LPB by Christina Hendrick Melton. Rex Q. Fortenberry, Keith Crews, Gary Allen and Mark Carroll did the principal photography with Fortenberry editing the program. Mike Esnault composed the music.
|Published: March 10, 2014
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