The Oil Spill
By: Madeline Langley
Damage That Was Caused
• The oil smothered coral formations, messed up the food chain,
affected life forms, and layered vast areas of ocean floor with
• The oil spill is a tremendous threat to fish, birds, turtles,
endangered wildlife, and any animal that lives in the sea.
People will try to save them, but do not always succeed.
Animals are in huge
danger if they are coated
in oil. (This is a turtle)
Birds die from oil spills if their feathers are covered in oil
because the bird will try and clean its feathers and then will
be poisoned by the oil. Also, the oil is too heavy for the bird to
fly. If workers have found sea birds that are not dead
because of oil, they will take the birds to a cleaning center or
captivity where they are kept in a facility because they can
not live in the wild on their own. When a bird is taken in to a
professional the oil will be flushed from its eyes, intestines,
and feathers. The bird will be checked for other injuries like
broken bones, and will take a special medicine to prevent any
more damage. When the bird seems better, it will take a test
on its abilities to float in the water and keep water away from
its body. As soon as the bird passes the test it will be let out
into the wild.
Sea otters are affected by oil very much. The
otter’s body may get covered in oil, which
causes build up in the otter’s air bubbles. These
air bubbles are located in the otter’s fur. Air
bubbles help otters survive the cold oceans.
They act like a cover over the otter’s body and
help them float in the water. When oil builds up
in the air bubbles, the otters may die of
hypothermia (low body temperature). Many sea
otters are being placed in captivity after the oil
spill until the they are cleaned and ready to live
in the ocean again.
SMALL SEA CRITTERS
Many people don’t think about the small
animals that are affected by oil spills such as:
Plankton, larval fish, and bottom dwelling
organisms. Even seaweed, clams, oysters, and
mussels can be affected by oil spills. Only off-
shore accidents normally cause the deaths of
these small sea animals because that is their
Oil spills are one of the ways killer whales
became endangered. The oil may get eaten or
go into the whale’s blowhole. A blowhole is a
hole to help the whale breathe. Sometimes,
whales rise up out of the water to take a
breath. The main reason whales die is
because they eat a fish that swam through the
oil. If a fish swam through the oil and a whale
eats the fish, it also eats the oil. Now that the
whale has eaten the oil, it has been poisoned.
Ways That Some Animals Die From
Animals can die when they
get hypothermia, which is
when their body
temperature is too low.
Oil may also cause an
animal to die by entering
the animal’s lungs or
liver. Then, the animal
will be poisoned by the
oil. Lastly, oil also can kill
an animal by blinding it.
The animal will no longer
be able to see anything
like its predators so they
might get eaten.
The Food Chain
• When hundreds of plankton die because of oil,
that specie of animal may become extinct. Then,
fish won’t be able to eat the plankton, so they will
become extinct. A killer whale could then become
extinct because it can’t eat the fish.
• This is what happens when a specie becomes
extinct as a result of an oil spill. The oil spill can
damage the entire food chain in the area.
• The length of coastline affected by the oil spill is
equal to five Californias.
• 206 million gallons of oil escaped into the ocean in
• Animals that are in captivity because of an oil spill
will be cleaned by professionals and volunteers.
• Oil spills are sometimes the reason why animals
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred on March 23,
1989. The list below shows how animals have been
Recovered Recovery is
Bald Eagle Cutthroat Trout
River Otter Recovering Dolly Varden
Animals: Kittlitz murrelet
Not Recovered Rockfish
Common Loon Marbled murrelett
Killer Whale Pacific Herring
Harbor Seal Pink Salmon
Harlequin Duck Sea Otter
Pigeon Quillemont Sockeye Salmon
A Fun Project
Are you wondering what the animals feel like when they are covered in oil? I
did, so I decided to find out.
• A bowl
• Hot chocolate powder
• Oil (any kind)
• A clean bird feather (Optional)
• First, take the bowl and pour water in it. Then, pour the hot
chocolate mix into the water. Now your water should be brown
to resemble the color of the oil. Next, pour some oil into the
water. Finally, dip your finger or bird feather into the water to
feel it. Now that your feather or finger is slimy go to the sink and
see how much water it takes to get it completely off.