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Scoop Link: Military Sound Effects Killing Whales


Sound Effects

By Bree Ullman
The Honolulu Weekly
Wednesday 25 April 2007

Activists say sonar kills whales. The Navy isn't listening.

The U.S. Navy's antisubmarine warfare strategists probably wish they could emulate the way whales and dolphins navigate the ocean depths. How they can penetrate, with high-pitched clicks, what the light spectrum cannot. How they can detect without touching, see without seeing. How they can ward off predators, stalk their prey, answer their kind across the distant and dark.

The Navy has none of these talents. Instead, it relies on various types of man-made sonar to monitor key shipping channels. With the advent of the modern, ultra-quiet enemy submarine, the Navy insists its personnel must be trained in the use of certain types of active sonar - the kind of sonar that blasts a pulse thousands of miles across the water and sends a pressure wave ripping through the lungs and brains of whales and dolphins, that causes deafness, disorientation, acute stress, violent behavior and separation of mother and calf pairs. This is only for starters.

Underwater, sound increases exponentially, says Jeff Pantukhoff, who spearheads the international Save the Whales Again campaign. "When a huge bomb goes off in a city, it's the pressure wave that causes the damage. The pressure wave from a sonar blast rips and tears apart the cells of marine mammals."

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