Joanne Chu, community moderator at, did such a terrific list of cutest animals impacted by the BP oil spill that rather than put up a link, which might only get a relatively small number of readers, I asked if we could print it here and get it out to perhaps a lot.  That is, if this Internet thing is working properly.   

So once you read it give their site a look.   Everyone loves lists.   Come back after you try one or two of the 13 most bizarre beauty treatments and let me know if they work.  A man of advancing years like me is willing to throw caution to the wind to stay awesome.


The worst effects of the BP oil spill are being felt most by the animals whose habitats, eating patterns and very existence are being threatened. So, to get everyone into more of an actionable mood, here's a list of the ten cutest animals that are being directly hurt/threatened by the effects of the oil spill.

1. Pinnipeds

- Fur seals are more vulnerable due to the likelihood of oil adhering to their thick fur. Heavy oil coating and tar deposits on fur seals may result in reduced swimming ability and lack of mobility out of the water.
- A pinniped mother trying to clean an oiled pup with her tongue will ingest so much oil that it could prove toxic.
- Seal pups have been seen to be so encased in oil that their flippers have been stuck to their bodies. This can lead to drowning or increased predation. Sand and other detritus may adhere to the oil and tarry residues. This increases body weight and density and leads to buoyancy problems, which basically handicaps this loving, magnificent creature so that it can barely take care of itself, let alone its pups.

- They have external ear flaps and can "walk" on all four flippers. Their swimming power comes from their large front flippers.
- Seals are very vulnerable to oil pollution because they have to spend much of their time on or near the surface of the water.

2.  Dolphins

- Unlike most animals, oil does not stick to a Dolphin's skin because their skin is smooth, and hairless. That's good. One less thing to worry about in the heap of other problems that BP has made for these highly intelligent mammals. The dolphins of the Gulf of Mexico will encounter problems such as inhaling oil and oil vapor (which they do very well). This will inevitably damage the animals' airways, lungs, and mucous membranes. This, in turn, can lead to death. It's the circle of life, BP style, and the dolphins are panicking their way in circles to death. Oh yeah, just so you know, they can increase their exposure to oil harm if they're stressed or panicking. Wonderful.
- A dolphin's eyesight is also sensitive to oil exposure.
- It is also possible that oil pollution impairs a dolphin's immune system and causes secondary bacterial and fungal infections.
- The transfer of petroleum hydrocarbons through the mothers milk to suckling young is another way oil affects dolphins and may affect not only current dolphin populations, but future generations.

- Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating fish and squid. They might consume oil-affected food or may even starve due to the lack of available food given that in the gulf area they are pretty much at the top of the food chain.

3. Manatees

- Manatees may be affected by inhaling volatile hydrocarbons while they are breathing on the surface, and it is very likely that exposure to petroleum will irritate sensitive mucous membranes and eyes. Those adorable little eyes. The young are the most at risk (read: manatee pups). Nursing pups may be injured due to ingestion of oil from contaminated teats. There may be long-term chronic effects as a result of migration through oil-contaminated waters, and there is a substantial possibility of consuming contaminated plant material and other incidental organisms that may affect GENERATIONS of manatees (much like the dolphins).

- Large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as ‘sea cows’. They’re well-known for their friendly nature and paddle-like flippers.
- Hair color is brownish gray and they have thick, wrinkled skin, often with coarse hair, or "whiskers." This adorable big guy spends half the day sleeping.
- Are capable of understanding discriminatory tasks and show signs of complex thought associated with learning and advanced long-term memory.
- Inhabit the shallow, marshy coastal areas and rivers of the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as other regions with warmer water. Diet includes mangrove leaves, turtle grass, and types of algae, all of which will be filled/covered with a layer of oil due to this last spill.

4. Young Heron

- Impair reproduction. Studies have shown that 'microliter' quantities of fresh oil applied to the eggshell surface will cause death of the embryo. Birds exposed to sublethal quantities of oil during the nesting season can transfer oil onto their feathers, and then to their eggs, causing failure of the eggs to hatch.

- Underneath Mangrove, just inside the coast of Lousiana. The is home to hundreds of herons, brown pelicans, terns, gulls and roseate spoonbills.
- Almost all of these species are associated with water, they are essentially non-swimming waterbirds that feed on the margins of lakes, rivers, swamps, ponds and the sea.
- Majority found in tropics
- The diet includes a wide variety of aquatic animals, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic insects

5. Sea Turtles

- Sea turtles such as loggerheads and leatherbacks can be impacted as they swim to shore for nesting activities. Turtle nest eggs may be damaged if an oiled adult lies on the nest. All species of sea turtles are listed as threatened or endangered.
- Dr. Solangi's center recovered 13 sea turtles that had washed ashore, said to be the first victims of the BP oil spill.

- Inhabitants in all areas of the ocean and beach/dunes, except the arctic. A lifespan of 80 years is feasible for sea turtles. Sea turtles play 2 critical roles in ecosystem types - oceans and beaches/dunes. Green sea turtles eat sea grass that grows at the bottom of the ocean. Sea grass must be kept short in order to remain healthy, and beds of healthy sea grass are essential in areas of breeding and development for species of fish and marine life; making sea turtles (in jeopardy now more than ever) an INTEGRAL part of the ecosystem in the Gulf.
- Beach dunes depend on vegetation to protect against erosion, and turtle eggs that fail make it to the ocean, hatched or not, are nutrient sources for vegetation. If sea turtles become extinct, there will be a negative impact in both marine and human life.

- The Minnesota Zoo is sending the center toothbrushes, towels and cleaning brushes to help remove the oil caked on the turtles, one of which weighs over 100 pounds. Veterinarians, zookeepers and animal technicians offering help with resources like animal food and providing vehicles. Caretakers plan to rehabilitate them and then temporarily redistribute them to aquariums across the country.

6. Least Terns

- There is a potential for the oil spill to wipe out the entire population of Least Terns.
  - Terns were once plentiful in Biloxi, Mississippi with 12,000 species living. Now there are only 2,000. 
- Right now, least tern eggs are at a critical point in their life cycle because they're the most vulnerable to the oil. It takes about 20 days for least terns eggs to hatch, and another 20 days to leave the nest.


- A species of tern that breeds in North America and locally in northern South America. Sea birds have a high risk of contact to spilled oil due to the amount of time they spend on or near the surface of the sea and on oil affected foreshores.

7. Whooping Crane

 - Birds can be exposed to oil as they float on the water or dive for fish through oil-slicked water. Oiled birds can lose the ability to fly and can ingest the oil while preening.
- This bird feeds on various crustaceans, mollusks, fish, berries, small reptiles and aquatic plants. Potential foods of breeding birds in summer include frogs, small rodents, smaller birds, fish, aquatic insects, crayfish, clams, snails, aquatic tubers and, berries. Waste grain, including wheat and barley, is an important food for migratory birds such as the whooping crane. All affected (INfected) by this oil spill.
 - These devastating outcomes give the creatures nothing to whoop about -- if they CAN even whoop anymore without oil spouting out their throats or choking them them to death. 


- The tallest North American bird, the Whooping Crane is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound and call. 
 - The whooping crane is endangered mainly as a result of habitat loss.  Breeding populations winter along the Gulf coast of Texas, as well as other areas with lakes. They nest on the ground, usually on a raised area in a marsh. Female is more likely to directly tend to the young.

8. Snowy Plover 

- The snowy plover is possibly the most adorable bird to be affected by the oil spill. It has been designated to a watch-list and is considered an endangered species in the West Coast. Snowy plovers would be severely affected by oil on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Read more:
- Plovers have already stopped nesting as a result of the oil spill.

- Often found at or near beaches. In many parts of the world, it has become difficult for this species to breed on beaches because of disturbance from the activities of humans or their animals.

9.  Pelicans

- Some brown pelicans couldn't fly away this Memorial Day weekend's Sunday. All they could do was hobble; their beautiful brown and white feathers now covered in jet black oil.
- The pelicans struggled to clean the crude from their bodies, splashing in the water and trying to preen themselves and their young. One stood at the edge of an island with its wings lifted slightly, its head drooping -- so encrusted in oil it couldn't fly.
- Pelicans are especially vulnerable to oil. Not only could they eat tainted fish and feed it to their young, but they could die of hypothermia or drown if they're soaked in oil and rendered immobile.

- A pelican is a large water bird with a large throat pouch, belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae. They’re birds of inland and coastal waters, mostly found in warm regions.

- We can work on a chain of berms, reinforced with containment booms, that would skirt the coastline. Berms would close the door on an oil coming from a mile-deep gusher about 50 miles out in the Gulf. The berms would be made with sandbags and sand hauled in; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also is considering a broader plan that would use dredging to build sand berms across more of the barrier islands.

10.  Crab

- An accumulation of toxins in small organisms, such as snails and mole crabs, could hamper their reproduction. A decline in what blue crabs are eating could then hinder their own growth and survival. Contaminated food could also affect blue crab reproduction, thereby impacting the next generation.
- If they ingest tainted food, female blue crabs will inadvertently put the viability of their eggs and stored sperm at risk, resulting in an inordinate number of eggs being laid that aren’t fertile, endangering a very important crab for the U.S., Louisiana and the ecosystem.

- The United States is the world’s most important blue crab fishery. Its top producing state is Louisiana. Oil that’s been broken up by dispersants will affect all crabs' food source, which consists primarily of snails and mole crabs.

BONUS!!   #11

What You Can Do

Everyone can make a difference. Everyone has Facebook. Thus, the forces align in this man-made disaster.

For training in cleanup efforts, go to The Gulf Coast Oil Spill Volunteers Facebook group for more information. There are already over 8,000 members involved.

See details from the group here:

If you live in the coastal region and would like to report an injured wildlife, call BP's oiled wildlife retrieval hotline at 866-557-1401.

Saved cuteness is just a phone call away.