Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Effects of Oil on Whales and Dolphins

photo: bottlenose dolphinWhales and Dolphins, called Cetaceans, live in the water, but are actually mammals. This means that they need to come to the surface to breath air. When they surface, they can become exposed to oil on the surface of the water.

If they swim through oil-contaminated water, they can become contaminated on their skin and receive irritation or burns to the skin.

They may be exposed to oil when eating prey that has oil on it. Once inside, oil can damage their organs.

photo: orca (killer whale)To learn more about how oil affects whales and dolphins, please go to the OWCN’s page on oiled wildlife  or this one from the National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA.

To learn more about whales and dolphins, please visit The Marine Mammal Center’s web page on cetaceans.

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