Military sonar kills dolphins

This video is called Lethal Sounds: Deadly Sonar Harms Whales.

From the Daily Mail in England (a Conservative paper, so don’t start talking about “liberal bias”, etc.):

Launch of new military sonar ‘threatens Britain’s last wild dolphins’

By David Derbyshire

Last updated at 7:20 PM on 12th October 2009

The latest generation of military sonar is putting Britain’s wild dolphins in danger, wildlife campaigners warned today.

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society says naval exercises due to start tomorrow will threaten the North Sea’s last remaining population of bottlenose dolphins.

The warning comes after an unusually high number of deep sea whales have been stranded or spotted in shallow waters around the coast.

Experts fear whales and dolphins are being deafened by the noise from shipping, drilling, military sonar and underwater sonic alarms designed to keep seals from fish farms.

The NATO exercise Joint Warrior involves 20 warships, 4 submarines and 40 aircraft from nine countries in the Moray Firth, Scotland, and lasts for two weeks.

Sarah Dolman, campaigner from the WDCS, said: ‘The exercise will use new generation powerful sonar, which is a very loud noise source and we are extremely concerned that the dolphins in the Moray Firth will not be adequately protected from this by the mitigation measures proposed.

‘The recent deaths of common dolphins, such as the strandings that followed a military exercise off the Cornish coast last year, illustrate how delicate an issue this is and how vulnerable dolphins may be.

‘Society wouldn’t condone exposing people to the equivalent, extreme levels of noise so why should it be acceptable to risk the health of vulnerable dolphins in such a way?’

She accused the Government’s wildlife agencies of failing to protect dolphins and marine life in the area.

Around 130 bottlenose dolphins live in the Moray Firth. Another colony is found in Cardigan Bay, Wales, while small numbers live in the Hebrides.

The creatures are stocky and around nine foot long. They are social animals, living in family groups of between six and 25 dolphins.

The WDCS says the sonar and engine noise from ships and submarines interferes with the natural sonar used by dolphins to hunt fish and communicate.

Fears over the impact of noise on marine life were raised at the weekend when another northern bottlenose whale was washed up dead on beach in Prestatyn, North Wales.

It was the 10th northern bottlenose whale to find itself in shallow coastal waters this year.

Living Seas: Britain’s marine life: photos here.

Obama Administration To Revisit Bush-Era Sonar Policies; Marine Mammal ‘Hotspots’ Could Be Placed Off-Limits: here.

9 thoughts on “Military sonar kills dolphins

  1. Body of rare beaked whale washes up in Galicia

    By: ThinkSpain , Friday, April 16, 2010

    Members of the Galician Natural History Society (SGHN) in Ferrol have found the body of a six-metre long cetacean weighing in the region of 600kg washed up on the shores of a beach in A Coviña, which they believed died after swallowing a rubber gardening glove that blocked its digestive system.

    The specimen found is a Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris) an animal “about which scientists know very little” and which lives between the Cantabrian Sea and the Atlantic Ocean at depths of over 2000 metres. It is known to feed on large cephalopod molluscs which it hunts thanks to ecolocation, its special sonar which enables it to detect vibrations, since there is no natural light in its habitat.

    Another common name for the species is Goose-beaked Whale on account of the fact that its head is said to be shaped like the beak of a goose. During the Middle Ages, this animal was thought to be a monster with a fish’s body and an owl’s head. Georges Cuvier first described it in 1823 from part of a skull found in France in 1804.

    Ecologists have used the find to highlight once again “the number of cetaceans that are dying because they swallow plastic bags and other human rubbish” and insisted on the necessity to keep the oceans clean and to stop using the sea as a “rubbish tip”.

    The whale’s body is in an advanced state of decomposition, but the skull will now go to form part of the exhibition at Ferrol’s soon-to-be-opened Museum of Nature, which will house the biggest collection of cateacean skeletons in Spain.


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