Naval Sonar Damages Whale Populations

Filed in Gather News Channel by on July 8, 2012 0 Comments

Cetacean beings are heavily reliant on their ability to hear and transmit sounds to other family members. Their ability to communicate is of particular importance when they are alerting others to a threat in the area. Comparatively, this is no different from a person yelling to a loved one, “look out!” to avoid danger. Imagine the impossibility and the hopelessness of not being able to convey this important message because of surrounding explosions. Further, imagine a person finds it so important to convey this message that they are willing to sacrifice their hearing and even face death in hopes that others might hear the warning.

Naval sonar is tantamount to bomb explosions on land, only it is in the water. While engaging in training exercises the Navy reported findings relating to the impacts sonar discharge had on cetaceans. It was estimated that approximately 2,000 cetaceans died from exposure to sonar and more than 5 million cetaceans suffered some degree of hearing loss. The Navy estimates that even 300 miles from cetacean pods a sonic blast is 100 times stronger than an aquatic mammal can withstand.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) believes it has found a link between beached whales and the use of naval sonar. Upon examination of whale carcasses scientists have discovered blood on their brains, ruptured ear canals, and bubbles in their systems similar to when people contract decompression sickness (the bends). While the use of sonar is necessary in times of war, the NRDC argues that sonar training should be held in areas not frequented by cetaceans and that a rudimentary training class for submarine personnel about migrating patterns would mitigate unnecessary harm to marine life.

“Brutality to an animal is cruelty to mankind – it is only the difference in the victim” – Alphonse de Lamartine (1790 – 1869)

For those interested, sign the petition to Stop Sonar Testing in Whale Inhabited Areas.

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