Blog: Mother Earth Heals
by Liora Leah

Sonar Kills Whales

Protect Whales from Military Sonar! Sonar causes mass whale strandings, organ damage and internal bleeding. TAKE ECO-Action! Sign a petition sponsored by National Resources Defense Council!

Date:   7/9/2005 9:05:26 PM   ( 16 y ) ... viewed 1664 times
Right Whale

From the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website:

Until a few centuries ago, whales dominated the world's oceans. Some 30,000 gray whales navigated shallow coastal waters across the Atlantic and the Pacific. Right whales swam in abundance through much of the North Atlantic and hundreds of thousands of humpback and blue whales roamed the seas. Intensive whaling, though, later reduced many whale populations to a fraction of their former size. North Atlantic right whales are estimated to number only 300 today and 10 other whale species remain endangered as well.

Decades of protection have helped boost some whale populations, including the California gray whale. But now, a new threat has emerged that, like whaling, could have a global impact on whale populations. Used by the U.S. Navy and militaries around the world for submarine detection, high-intensity active sonar systems operate by blasting sound waves across the ocean floor at up to 245 decibels -- estimated to be as loud as a space shuttle at takeoff. In recent years, scientists have linked the use of mid-frequency sonar to the deaths and strandings of hundreds of whales from the Bahamas to the Canary Islands to Japan.

According to a 2003 report in the scientific journal Nature, active sonar may kill whales by giving them something similar to "the bends," the illness that kills scuba divers who surface too quickly from deep water. Large gas bubbles form in the blood vessels of panicked whales, causing organ damage and internal bleeding. The International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee has declared that "overwhelming" evidence points to military sonar as the cause of mass whale strandings -- and expressed concern that the known cases may be only a fraction of the total number injured or killed.

Most of these strandings and deaths could be avoided if the U.S. Navy -- and the navies of other countries -- took simple safety measures to protect marine mammals while conducting routine training exercises.

The European Parliament and the World Conservation Congress of the IUCN have already called for international controls on the use of military sonar. The Bush administration, however, is strongly opposing such limits.

TAKE ACTION to protect whales from military sonar:

Several mass whale strandings have been linked directly to NATO naval exercises and their use of dangerous high-intensity sonar. Tell NATO to stop inflicting unnecessary suffering on whales around the world! Sign an e-petition to Secretary General and Permanent
Representatives, North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

Petition drive sponsored by NDRC

Read more about right whales:

For more actions to save whales see:  "ECO-ACTION:  Whale Update!"

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