Marine mammals, including whales, porpoises, and dolphins, depend on their hearing for survival. Sound determines communication, locating food, mates, friends, family, and how to avoid dangerous situations – life’s basics.
And now, in addition to ongoing, relentless noise pollution caused by off-shore oil explorations and engines from boats and ships, the U.S. Navy plans underwater tests with high-powered sonar and explosives for the next five years (between 2014 – 2019) in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
The Navy’s own calculation estimates that tests with sonar and explosives will kill or maim tens of thousands of whales and other marine mammals.
These underwater tests would cause immense pain and suffering to marine mammals when powerful sonar blasts destroy their hearing and cause fatal hemorrhaging of their brains and bubbles in their organs. Naval sonar has already led to mass whale strandings; in 2009, The Scientific American reported that, “Evidence shows that whales will swim hundreds of miles, rapidly change their depth (sometimes leading to bleeding from the eyes and ears), and even beach themselves to get away from the sounds of sonar.”
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