Five Years and Counting

  • Lacey McCormick
  • Mar 30, 2015

Five years after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, sending oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, wildlife are still struggling. The Gulf, with its deep waters, sandy beaches, lush wetlands and coral reefs, is a vast system that supports more than 15,000 species of wildlife – fish, birds, marine mammals and many, many others.

A new report from the National Wildlife Federation looks at how 20 types of wildlife that depend on a healthy Gulf are faring in the wake of the BP oil spill. The full extent of the spill’s impacts may take years or even decades to unfold, but Five Years & Counting: Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster examines what the science tells us so far.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster is the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. It is essential that careful monitoring of the Gulf ecosystem continue and that mitigation of damages and restoration of degraded and weakened ecosystems begin as soon as possible.

The Gulf Coast’s economy and way of life are deeply connected to the wildlife, land and water. It is time for BP to face the consequences and pay its penalties so efforts to restore the Gulf of Mexico for people and wildlife can truly begin.

Five years into the ongoing disaster, scientists are starting to get a better handle on the impacts of the disaster on wildlife and ecosystems. The slideshow below briefly describes impacts to seven types of wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, but read the entire report to get a fuller picture.

Five Years and Counting

Gulf Wildlife in the Aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon Disaster


Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates