March 13, 2014 -The northern waters of the Gulf of Mexico are extraordinarily rich and diverse but some of the marine, mammals and bird species are in danger of being lost forever. The next installment of LPB’s six-part series Alive! In America’s Delta,entitled Endangered in the Gulf, focuses on endangered Gulf species, the perils, success stories and how cutting edge technology is being used to monitor and protect them.
“Through the show, we hope to encourage the people of Louisiana to become educated about and aware of threats to species, success stories on species recovery and the opportunity to promote species conservation,” said Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Robert Barham.
One highlight includes the resurgence of the Brown Pelican in Louisiana. Widespread use of the pesticide DDT led to the extinction of the Brown Pelican in the 1960s. After the insecticide was banned in the early 1970s, Louisiana wildlife officials brought in 1,200 young pelicans from Florida and three decades later the pelicans were making a comeback. In 2009, the magnificent bird was removed from the Endangered Species List. “At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story,” explained Barham.
The episode also touches on imperiled habitat in the Gulf and the species that rely on it. Five of the world's seven endangered sea turtle species rely on habitat in the Gulf of Mexico. Other endangered marine species like the West Indian Manatee, the Gulf Sturgeon, and Sperm and Right Whales and birds such as the Piping Plover and the Least Tern make the Gulf their home.
Five species of sea turtles who reside in the Gulf are also in danger, but the Kemp’s Ridley turtle faces particular challenges. Though an array of projects are helping with sea turtle protection, wildlife officials say the number of deaths have risen in the last four years. With 15,000 identified species in the Gulf, Wildlife and Fisheries personnel say they need the public’s help in reporting injured animals to make sure they get the life-saving treatment they need.
While there have been some success stories, the preservation and protection of the endangered species in the Gulf will always be a work in progress particularly in light of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Gulf is a resilient system, but one that needs growing attention if this vital resource for future generations is to be protected.
This program was produced for LPB by Christina Hendrick Melton. Rex Q. Fortenberry, Keith Crews, Gary Allen and Mark Carroll did the principal photography with Fortenberry editing the program. Mike Esnault composed the music.
The show premieres on Tuesday, March 18 at 7 p.m. followed by an encore showing of Delta Guardians at 8 p.m. WLAE-TV in New Orleans will air Endangered in the Gulf on Friday, March 28 at 8:30 p.m.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov , on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.