BP Tries to Block Photos of Dead Wildlife

by on June 8, 2010 · 9 comments

in Environment, History, Media

oil spill peligan

by Laura Goldman /Change.org / June 05, 2010

For animal lovers, one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the Gulf spill is the oil-drenched wildlife washing up on shore. If you’re too horrified to look at any photos, you’re in luck — BP doesn’t want you to see them.

As of Friday morning, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s tally of dead animals collected in the Gulf area was 527 birds, 235 sea turtles (six to nine times the average rate), and 30 mammals, including dolphins. Yesterday morning, the spill washed over Queen Bess Island (called “Bird Island” by locals), which is a habitat for Louisiana brown pelicans, the state bird that was once an endangered species. Forty-one of the birds were coated with oil, and that number is expected to rise.

Have you seen the terrible pictures of all this carnage? Neither have I. And neither has anyone else.

Wonder why? The New York Daily News reported on Wednesday that BP has ordered its contractors not to share pictures or otherwise publicize the scores of dead and injured wildlife.

An unnamed BP contractor gave a reporter a very different tour from the one presented to President Obama during his recent visit. Among the “highlights,” if that’s what they can be called, was a decomposing dolphin that the worker said had been found filled with oil. The shoreline grass of Queen Bess Island was covered with stricken marine life, some dead and some struggling to breathe. The normally white heads of pelicans were dark with oil.

The worker said BP was insistent it didn’t want any photos of the dead animals. “There is a lot of coverup for BP,” the worker told the reporter. “They know the ocean will wipe away most of the evidence.”

As extra assurance that most of us will never see photographic or any other evidence of the true extent of the carnage, Louisiana residents said BP quickly whisks off dead and injured wildlife to inaccessible buildings and offshore ships. Out of sight, out of mind … but forever in locals’ memories.

New York Daily News reporters trying to get a closer look at the disaster were escorted from a beach by police who said they were taking orders from BP. Even Louisiana residents have been required to sign non-disclosures.

Really, BP? Did you not get the memo this isn’t a police state? You may be able to control politicians by lining their pockets, but your bucks stop there. This disaster is going to affect all of us, and we have every right to see the extent of the damage.

In an encouraging development, this week Charlie Riedel of the Associated Press was somehow able to bypass BP’s myriad roadblocks and snap some appalling photos. They may make us want to shield our eyes, but it’s important we don’t bury our heads just as BP would love for us to do.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

oBak June 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Big picture had a few pics earlier

also BP is buying up keywords to direct traffic to their response rather than what is going on


Patty Jones June 8, 2010 at 9:34 pm

I heard about BP keyword thing. I did a search last night but didn’t see any results on Google for BP when i searched for “oil spill”, but realized I have AdBlock on my version of Firefox and don’t see the sponsored links. Thank you AdBlock.

Some of the photos I have seen have made me physically ill, the whole world needs to see them. And stop offshore drilling everywhere, now and forever.


Kristin C. June 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm

The pics I saw on the HuffPost slideshow were sooooo gnarly. (see my comment below) But I don’t understand why the stuff is not there anymore?!?!? It was REALLY bad – dead animals and animals smothering in the oil they were covered in… BAD bad bad. Not that I assume any other pics of it are GOOD… but still… where did these pics go??? I am heartbroken for all these poor animals – and for a huge percentage of them – this is their nesting season!!! That means their baby birds/turtles/fish/whatever-poor-critters are either going to grow up trying to get food in a contaminated environment, and/or their parents are going to dive into oil-effed waters to try to get food for their babies!!! So, so sad. We will be on that coast for a few days in June, and I hope we can volunteer a bit of time to help with all of these poor creatures who are getting SCREWED in this whole deal. I will stop now, otherwise my sadness about this will inspire another 40 paragraphs.


Kristin C. June 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

Found the link – don’t know why I couldn’t find it last night… but still. It’s so gnarly. And sooooo sad.



Patty Jones June 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

Kristin, I saw a picture of some hermit crabs, little tiny hermit crabs covered in oil. I thought, “these little creatures, at the bottom of the food chain….”

I worked for a company that made oceanography equipment and one of the biggest things we sold were plankton sampling nets. Plankton ARE the base of the food chain. You hafta know this oil is affecting the plankton, and likewise every living creature in the gulf and on the shore. It is absolutely criminal.


Kristin C. June 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Huffington Post also had a slideshow of some horrible pics – I saw them courtesy of OBRagster Jon Carr on FB but as I went to find the link to post- they’re no longer on Jon’s FB page, nor on my “history” list from this morning, nor could I find it on the Huffington Post website. Very effin’ weird… There were over 100 pics of BAD stuff happening to coastal Gulf fish/sharks/dolphins/and especially birds….


tj June 9, 2010 at 7:41 am

Terrible, just terrible.. And so sad.

Offshore drilling is about GREED – pure & simple.


Keeping photographers out, supressing the devastating photos – is that what the administration meant when they were “talking” about – “transparency?”

What a sorry joke.

“Change” …. or …. “6 of 1, a half dozen of the other.”

So ….

…. to BP …. or …. not to BP?

You cast YOUR vote – where you spend your $$$.



Sunshine June 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm

they cant stop the satellite photos of the current mess….. also, locals have launched balloons with cameras to record the spill in its entirety from the air (outside of BP’s permission, of course) .


oBak June 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm

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