Fed officials say countless wildlife species tainted by spreading Gulf oil spill

COVINGTON, La. (AP) — Federal officials say they have found a handful of animals injured by the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico but countless others may be feeling the effects.

Ralph Morgenweck of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says many animals that have died will never be found. And others could be affected in less tangible ways, such as complications from inhaling the fumes.

Authorities say they have recovered 186 sea turtles and more than 60 birds they believe may have been affected by the spill. All but a few of the sea turtles were found dead, as were 43 of the birds. They also say 18 dolphins were stranded on shore since the spill. None had oil on their skin.

Federal officials warned that if the oil spill hits the shoreline the effects will be much more visible.