Torrie – Dolphins Can Get Down and Dirty, too

Thank you for viewing my presentation. Here's what I would like to know from you: What are your thoughts about the Gulf Coast Oil Spill on dolphins?

To respond to my prompt and to submit any additional comments, questions or personal accounts related to my speech topic, please post in my discussion forum on the “Oil Spill Anniversary Conference” Facebook page. If you do not have a Facebook account, please e-mail me at instead from your personal e-mail account. Please put my name in the e-mail title, so I’m sure to receive your message.

On Thursday, April 21, 2011, at 10:30–11:45 a.m., I will be online to interact with you live via Facebook or e-mail depending on what works best for you. I’m looking forward to communicating with you at that time. Thank you!

- Torrie

Informative Speech [Peer] Draft, [February 23, 2011]

1. Torrie Carroll

2. Dolphins can get Down and Dirty too

3. To inform

4. As a result of my presentation, my audience will be able to understand the complete impact the oil spill has had on marine wild life. They will see how the oil spill affected dolphins.


[PP: cover slide] (5) [PP: Louie] In September 2010, nearly five months after the oil spill nightmare began, a male bottle-nosed dolphin washed up barely alive on a Louisiana Coast. (1) According to Michelle Kelley of the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, this dolphin was the first “oiled” animal to wash up alive. Rescuers guessed that he was about two years old. He was believed the have about a five percent chance of survival. The rescue team eventually gave him the nickname Louie, due to his Louisiana roots, and took him to an aquatic center in New Orleans. They began teaching him how to swim again; however, it was a difficult task. A staff member had to be in the water with him at all times, or else he would sink. Two and half weeks went by and Louie was beginning to show signs of improvement. [PP image of Louie] This is what Louie now looks like. After five months of care, he was finally declared healthy. He couldn’t be released into the wild because he wouldn’t be able to survive on his own, but he was transported to the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys. He is now living among other dolphins rescued at the facility. This story is only one of the many stories of a dolphin affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Since the oil spill, 62 dolphins have been collected in Louisiana, only two of them still alive. One of them died during rehabilitation, leaving Louie the only dolphin survivor from Louisiana. (6) [PP: Gulfarium] So, why should you care about how dolphins were affected because of the oil spill? I’m sure most of you can agree that dolphins are one of the most beautiful animals. When you’re at the beach or on a boat and you see a dolphin, you’re fascinated. Anyone who’s ever been to SeaWorld can see that dolphins are very intelligent and peaceful creatures. The fact that so many dolphins were killed due to the oil spill is devastating. (7) After going to SeaWorld for the first time in second grade, I immediately became interested in dolphins. I thought they were the most beautiful, majestic creatures I had ever seen. I decided that day that I wanted to have a career in helping dolphins. This is me at the Gulfarium in third grade. I volunteered a few times at the Environmental Protection Agency on Pensacola Beach. I never actually got to interact with dolphins, but I learned a lot about them. (9) Throughout the oil spill disaster, many dolphins were affected or even killed. (10) Today I’m going to be talking about how many dolphins were affected, how they were affected, and what the rescue process is like.


I. Dolphins Affected

 [PP: Dolphins] There are an estimated 75,000 dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. When people think of dolphins, they probably picture the bottle nose dolphin, which is what this dolphin is. This is the most common type of dolphin. [PP: picture of dolphin] However, the Gulf of Mexico is home to over twenty species of whales and dolphins, such as the Rough-toothed and Atlantic Spotted dolphins. Only bottle-nosed and Atlantic Spotted dolphins are common in shallow waters. These are the dolphins you’ll see while you’re at the beach or boating. These are the two types of dolphins that have been found dead due to the oil spill. Many dolphins have been seen swimming in oily waters in many areas of the Gulf Coast. (2) According to Blair Mase of the “National Marine Fisheries Service”, less than a month after the explosion, six dead dolphins had already washed up on Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama shores. According to researchers, the cause of these deaths was most likely due to the oil. There are believed to be at least 100 dolphins from the Gulf Coast that were either injured or killed from the oil. [PP: Baby Dolphin] Unfortunately, the nightmare is still not over. According to “Baby Dolphins Dying”, more baby dolphins are washing up dead along the Gulf Coast than normal. Normally, about one or two dead dolphins will wash up a month. Since January, there have already been seventeen. Scientists are still waiting for cause of death, but the oil most likely played a role. Adult dolphin deaths have nearly tripled over the past year. The oil managed to work its way into bays and shallow waters where dolphins breed and give birth, which is said to be a factor in the deaths.

II. How affected

            How is it that the oil could kill so many baby dolphins? The relation between the dolphin deaths and the oil spill could be direct or indirect. The dolphin mothers could have ingested heavy metals in the oil, or it could have been from an imbalance in the animals’ guts caused by oil eating bacteria. These factors could have caused bacterial infections in the mothers which led to the mother aborting the baby. Researchers aren’t 100 percent sure if oil is the cause of the deaths, but they’re definitely not ruling it out! This past June President Obama made a visit to the Gulf Coast. He spoke to everyone about how devastating the oil spill was and said that they were doing everything they could to get it fixed. But, there was something the President didn’t see on his visit. [PP: Dead Dolphin] He didn’t see the dolphin rotting in the shore weeds. The dolphin was found by an unnamed BP contract worker in Louisiana covered in oil. According to Lysiak, oil was “pouring out of the dolphin”. The worker said there was a lot of coverup for BP about the effect the oil spill had on the animals, and it simply outraged him.

III. The rescue process

            [PP: Rescued Dolphin] So, what exactly is the process of rescuing the dolphins that still have a slim chance of living? Well for dolphins, like Louie, it’s a pretty difficult task. If a dolphin that is found is fortunate enough to live after being covered in oil, it is likely that they will never be able to survive in the wild again. Most of them are taken to facilities. They have ‘round the clock care, so that they don’t drown. For Louie it took more than 700 hours of care until he was able to swim and eat on his own again. I interviewed my friend Chris who works at the Gulfarium. He said that they didn’t take in any of the rescued dolphins, but many aquatic centers did. He said that the rescue process is extremely difficult thing for the rescuer and the dolphin.


            [PP: Healthy Dolphins] In the Gulf of Mexico, many dolphins have been affected greatly by the oil spill. Of the 75,000 dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, at least 100 have been believed to have died because of the oil spill. Many dolphins have washed up on shores dead. As we speak, on Mississippi and Alabama coasts, baby dolphins are washing to shore dead. When the dolphins ingest oil bacteria that feed off oil, it makes their offspring unhealthy, and lowers their chance of survival. Even though not all of the dolphins die from oil, many of them have to undergo hours of intensive care, and the rescue process is extremely difficult.


Baby dolphins dying. (2011, February 22).

Dead dolphins wash up on coast. (2010, May 10).

Gulf of mexico oil spill. (2010, May 12).

Lysiak, M. (2010, June 2). Dying morbid pictures of gulf coast oil spill.

Nearly killed in oil spill, dolphin now thriving. (2011, February 10).

Stevens, C. Personal Communication. February 23, 2011.