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THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
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Scientists believe some whales flee from sonar
Associated Press
FILE - In a Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 file photo, dozens of pilot whales are stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park. Wildlife officials are ceasing efforts to rescue a pod of whales that was stranded in the Everglades after losing sight of the marine mammals. The National Park Service says aerial and boat survey teams could not locate the whales Saturday, Dec. 7, a potentially encouraging sign that they have moved farther offshore. While authorities are hopeful the whales are headed back to the deeper, colder waters that form their natural habitat, they cannot say for sure. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
FILE - In a Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 file photo, dozens of pilot whales are stranded in shallow water in a remote area of Florida's Everglades National Park. Wildlife officials are ceasing efforts to rescue a pod of whales that was stranded in the Everglades after losing sight of the marine mammals. The National Park Service says aerial and boat survey teams could not locate the whales Saturday, Dec. 7, a potentially encouraging sign that they have moved farther offshore. While authorities are ho
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SAN DIEGO: The Navy plans to increase sonar testing in U.S. waters over the next five years even as studies it funded reveal worrying signs that the loud underwater noise could disturb whales and dolphins.

Reported mass strandings of certain whale species have risen worldwide since the military started using sonar half a century ago. Biologists also are concerned that marine mammals may suffer stress from changes in diving, feeding and communication.

Studies so far have involved a small group of tagged animals, and it's unclear how changes in behavior would affect populations.

For the first time, researchers coordinating with the Navy are conducting experiments using mid-frequency active sonar transmissions from ships. Last summer, the team tagged six whales and dolphins off the Southern California coast. Results are still being analyzed.

 
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