The numbers of oiled wildlife in the Gulf region continue to grow.
-- The numbers of collected wildlife continue to climb as BP's oil spill drags into its 66th day.
According to official estimates, 1,812 birds have been collected, yet only 766 have been collected alive -- all of them have been visibly oiled. Of the 539 sea turtles collected, only 128 were reported as living.
The numbers are even worse for sea mammals, including dolphins. In fact of the 52 mammals collected, only five were reported as living. Their health status was unknown at press time.
In the largest wildlife release to date, more than 63 rehabilitated brown pelicans were set free at Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. The refuge was picked since it meets the important coastal habitat needs of the pelicans for breeding. Other refuges along the Texas coast are being considered for more releases in the coming weeks, government officials report.
BP's oil disaster began after an explosion on April 20 on its Deep Water Horizon drilling platform ruptured the oil lines. The explosion killed 11 workers and has been responsible for the release of millions of gallons of crude oil washing up on 179 miles of Gulf coastline in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.