Military sonar kills dolphins

This video is called Navy Sonar & Whales.

This report is from the London Times, owned by arch warmonger Rupert Murdoch (so anyone who loves wars and/or hates dolphins, don’t start moaning about supposed “liberal media”):

April 8, 2009

Military sonar blamed for mass dolphin strandings

Mass strandings of dolphins and whales could be caused because the animals are rendered temporarily deaf by military sonar, experiments have shown.

Tests on a captive dolphin have demonstrated that hearing can be lost for up to 40 minutes on exposure to sonar. Hearing is the most important sense for dolphins and other cetaeceans, and losing it is likely to cause them to become disorientated and alarmed.

The finding by the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology may explain several strandings of dolphins and whales in the past decade. Most strandings are still thought to be natural events, but the tests strengthen fears that exercises by naval vessels equipped with sonar are responsible for at least some of them. …

Dr Mooney said that this could explain three of the best-known strandings that have been linked to military sonar – in the Bahamas, the Canaries and Hawaii – because all three regions had a mountainous underwater topography.

In the Bahamas in March 2000, 16 Cuvier’s beaked whales and Blainville’s beaked whales and a spotted dolphin beached during a US navy exercise in which sonar was used intensively for 16 hours. …

Observations by researchers while carrying out the tests, which are reported in the journal Biology Letters, showed that even though the dolphin involved was well accustomed to man-made noises and disturbances, it suffered subtle behavioural changes, which could cause further confusion.

See also here.

The whale, a male specimen of the Blainville’s Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon densirostris), was seen circling the area for two days, then ended up dead at the seashore on Wednesday morning, witnesses said: here.

2 thoughts on “Military sonar kills dolphins

  1. Posted on Tuesday, 04.07.09


    Activist sheds new light on dolphins’ fate in Japan

    A new documentary spotlights Ric O’Barry, a well-known animal activist, and his efforts to save dolphins from slaughter in Japan.


    In Ric O’Barry’s mind, the image of a blood-soaked Japanese lagoon never leaves.

    For the past six years, that cove and the dolphin-killing that goes on there has kept O’Barry — the South Miami man who trained Flipper but now frees captive dolphins — up at night.

    His obsession has led to a documentary, The Cove, in which a team of filmmakers trailed the 69-year-old activist to the Japanese town of Taiji, where he witnessed dolphins being rounded up by local fisherman — with most being slaughtered for their meat. The film won the Audience Award for documentaries at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and made its debut last week at Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove.

    Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff arranged for the viewing, attended by about 500 people.

    ”This movie will stir you on many levels,” Sarnoff told the audience. “I have yet to see another movie like this in my life.”

    The film, which will be distributed by Lions Gate/Roadside this summer, is likely to stir controversy regarding O’Barry, at the center of the dolphin anti-captivity movement for the past 38 years.

    ”I have many detractors,” he admitted.

    The Miami Seaquarium, for one. The Miami aquarium disputes O’Barry’ allegations, insisting that marine parks are highly regulated and their animals well cared for. ”There is no scientific basis” for the claim that captivity is bad, Seaquarium spokeswoman Carolina Perrina wrote to The Miami Herald.

    Furthermore, there must be a ”compelling reason” for releasing dolphins back into the wild, such as ”sustaining a vulnerable species,” Perrina added, because the move could harm both captive and wild populations.

    And, because 90 percent of the Seaquarium’s dolphins were born there, it would be cruel to free them to the wild, where they would be vulnerable to predators and starvation, Perrina said.

    1955 VISIT

    O’Barry has moved from one side of the captivity debate to the other. His story began in 1955, on the opening day of the Miami Seaquarium. While in the Navy, O’Barry visited the new attraction with his parents and found a new calling.

    ”A guy was feeding fish underwater — a dolphin trainer. That’s what I wanted to do,” he said. Five years later, O’Barry began his new job at the Seaquarium, riding a boat on Biscayne Bay.

    ”I was capturing dolphins on my first day,” he said.

    In those days, he saw nothing wrong with bringing the friendly mammals to aquariums — or that they would spend the rest of their lives in a pool. Those who were caught went to marine parks, road shows or to whomever was willing to pay for them.

    It was a good thing for dolphins, aquariums say. ”Under the care of man, dolphins are not threatened by predation, starvation, pollution and conflicts with humans as their counterparts in the wild are often exposed to,” the Seaquarium said in its statement.

    For a decade, O’Barry made a living working with dolphins for entertainment.

    After the success of the 1963 Flipper movie, producers were looking for more dolphins and a trainer for a Flipper television show that aired a year later. O’Barry fit the bill with his diving skills.


    But by 1970, Flipper had ended its run — and O’Barry became a changed man when he got a call about Kathy, one of the show’s dolphins. She was sick, with sunburn and big blisters. When he went to her tank, Kathy swam towards him.

    ”She looked me right in the eye, took a breath and never exhaled. Then, she sank to the bottom of the tank,” he said.

    Her death plunged him into a crisis of conscience. It haunted him that Kathy may have suffered depression from being confined — a claim that sea parks dispute. The day after she died, O’Barry was arrested in Bimini for trying to free a dolphin he had captured earlier.

    Since then, he has been protesting and freeing dolphins — getting arrested, sued and making headlines — whenever he hears of one in trouble. But a variety of marine attractions continue to keep dolphins; the Seaquarium in a statement touts its “state-of-the-art veterinary care, premium quality foods and environmental enrichments.”


    Louie Psihoyos, the director of The Cove, said O’Barry achieved the American dream while still a young man — then spent the rest of his life destroying it. ”He’s been on a path of redemption for the past 38 years,” added Psihoyos, a first-time film director, who spent 17 years as a photographer for National Geographic.

    The Cove represents a bright spot — maybe even a pivot — in the activist’s six-year effort to change the situation in Taiji, where he alleges dolphins that are not chosen to become performers are speared to death by local fishermen for their meat, Psihoyos said.

    In the film, Japanese officials deny any wrongdoing, saying they are following a 400-year tradition. They also said they kill dolphins humanely. Shuya Nakatsuka, first secretary of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, said dolphins are food — part of the diet for the island nation.

    ”Dolphins are under the control of the government to prevent the depletion of the stock, which is not endangered,” Nakatsuka said.

    Much like the U.S. does with tuna, Japan also issues warnings about how much dolphin meat should be consumed since it contains mercury, he added.

    Japanese officials have not seen the documentary, Nakatsuka said.

    O’Barry is adamant that The Cove is not meant to indict all Japanese. Despite the critical content of the film, he rejected any calls for a boycott of the country.

    ”The Japanese people don’t even know what’s going on. They are not guilty,” he said.

    Psihoyos said he and others are raising money to have The Cove dubbed in Japanese — subtitles won’t do. Already, there is a Facebook group for the movie. Trailers can be seen at or at O’Barry’s http://www.savejapa

    The activist hopes the film helps him stop dolphin abuse so that he can pursue other activities: painting, swimming with dolphins and doting on his 4-year-old daughter, whom he and his wife adopted from China.

    ”I don’t like drawing attention to myself,” O’Barry said. “I would like to drop out and get on with my life.”


  2. Pingback: Cormorants can hear under water, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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