It’s a tough time to be a whale. The world’s navies are upgrading their high-powered sonar to operate at lower frequencies than present; frequencies to which whales are particularly sensitive. Increased testing has seen the number of whale strandings and otherwise unexplained deaths increase substantially. And evidence that sonar kills whales goes way beyond coincidence. Beached whales’ symptoms include, amongst other things, haemorrhaging in the lungs, larynx and brain (with a path direct to the ear). Laboratory animals experience similar trauma when blasted at the right frequencies.
The Ministry of Defence complains of a lack of research pointing out that, ‘there is considerable uncertainty [as to where whales are to be found], particularly for the rarer species, as numbers are so low… The research is limited in content… as it is considered impractical and unethical to put marine mammals into cages or laboratories and subject them to potentially fatal, harmful or even stressful conditions. It is also unacceptable to kill and dissect mammals that have been exposed to such conditions’. So if the MOD is to have its way, we’ll only know for sure after the deed’s been done. If you’d rather they played safe, IFAW has an e-mail campaign going.
Meanwhile, Norway, Iceland and Japan’s plan to increase whaling has, thankfully, been condemned by Britain in run-up to next month’s gathering of the International Whaling Commission. But hosts, South Korea, will propose a resumption of commercial whaling at the same meeting. Greenpeace has an innovative campaign to project images of protestors onto the building in which the meeting is to be held. Yours truly has submitted the above pic for this virtual march. Why not do the same?
Hat tip to Lotus in the Mud re. IFAW campaign