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10 animals at risk of extinction from the Gulf oil spill

By: Bryan Nelson on July 19, 2010, 12:35 p.m.
Great Lakes piping plover

Photo: Steven Senne/AP

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Great Lakes piping plover

Only 71 breeding pairs remain of this critically endangered population of shorebirds. The birds typically spend the winter along the Gulf Coast. Tiny and adorable, piping plovers forage for food around the high tide wrack zone along the waters edge, making them especially vulnerable to the oil spill as it coats the coastline.

Other endangered populations of the piping plover, which can be found along the East Coast and in the Midwest, are similarly threatened.