Human Dependence Project
Oil, a product that we often use to keep warm, can cause hypothermia in marine animals. As oil mixes with water, it forms a substance called "mousse," which sticks to feathers and fur.
A bird's feathers are filled with air spaces that act as insulation and keeps the bird warm. When a bird gets coated with oil, the feathers lose their insulating ability and the bird could die of hypothermia.
Similarly, oil coats a pinniped's fur. When this happens, the fur gets matted with oil and loses its natural ability to insulate the animal's body, and it can die of hypothermia. Young animals like seal pups are particularly vulnerable.
How They Happen :
Oil Fires in the ocean