BP would prefer you to see photos like this: One of the lucky pelicans, rescued from the oil spill and released in St Petersburg, Florida. Photo: US Coast Guard.
This stage management/damage control is just really starting to piss me off... According to reports in Mother Jones and the Daily News BP has apparently banned oil spill clean up contractors from sharing photos of dead animals washed ashore. This tight-fisted control seems to be wearing on some contractors. One took a Daily News reporter out to see, in his words, what BP didn't want President Obama to see.
"There is a lot of coverup for BP. They specifically informed us that they don't want these pictures of the dead animals. They know the ocean will wipe away most of the evidence. It's important to me that people know the truth about what's going on here. The things I've seen: They just aren't right. All the life out here is full of oil.
Demonstrating that: A dead dolphin rotting on shore, filled with oil when they found it; pelicans, heads covered in oil, trying to clean themselves, repeatedly, and failing; turtles dead and those not yet passed, soon to be.
Kate Sheppard over at Mother Jones has the animal body count estimate so far: 444 dead birds, 222 dead sea turtles, 24 mammals (including dolphins). I say estimated, because as Sheppard notes, as with the Exxon Valdez, many carcasses have likely sunk and will never be found.