Dolphin and Whale News StoriesExcerpts of Key Dolphin and Whale News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of dolphins and whales news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The Navy is refusing to detail its sonar use for a federal court in a case involving potential harm to whales, saying the information could jeopardize national security. The Natural Resources Defense Council is suing the Navy to ensure sailors use sonar in a way that doesn't harm whales and other marine mammals. Critics say active sonar, which sailors use by pumping sound through water and listening for objects the sound bounces off of, can strand and even kill marine mammals. A U.S. Congressional Research Service report last year found Navy sonar exercises had been responsible for at least six mass deaths and unusual behavior among whales. Many of the beached or dead animals had damaged hearing organs. In considering the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper issued an order for the Navy to submit data for the case on when and where sailors have used sonar since 2003. The Navy said in its new release that it refused to comply citing state secrets privilege. Joel Reynolds, a Natural Resources Defense Council attorney, said he would challenge the Navy's position. "This latest invocation of state secret privilege is one more attempt to deprive the public of the information it needs to determine whether the Navy is illegally and needlessly endangering the marine environment," Reynolds said.
Note: What this and almost all other media articles on this subject fail to mention is that traditional radar used used since before WWII does not harm whales and dolphins. It is only sophisticated new systems that are causing mass deaths of these intelligent mammals around the world.
Dozens of dolphins and sea lions trained to detect and apprehend waterborne attackers could be sent to patrol a military base in Washington state, the Navy said Monday. The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by terrorist swimmers and scuba divers. Several options are under consideration, but the preferred plan would be to send as many as 30 California sea lions and Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins from the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, based in San Diego. Dolphins ... are trained to detect underwater mines; they were sent to do this in the Iraqi harbor of Umm Qasr in 2003. Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning. The last time the animals were used operationally in San Diego was in 1996, when they patrolled the bay during the Republican National Convention. The Navy has been training marine mammals since the 1960s and keeps about 100 dolphins and sea lions. Most are in San Diego, but about 20 are deployed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. The Navy is seeking public comment for an environmental impact statement on the proposal.
The Defense Department gave the Navy permission Tuesday to keep training with sonar for another two years, a move denounced by activists who say the sound waves can harm dolphins and other marine mammals. Navy officials had sought the two-year exemption from the Marine Mammal Protection Act, allowed under the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act. The ranges are off Hawaii, Southern California and the East Coast. "We cannot stop training for the next two years," said Don Schregardus, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for the environment. "That would put our sailors in the Navy at considerable risk." Environmentalists cite incidents of whales, porpoises and dolphins that have become stranded en masse on beaches after being exposed to sonar. "The Navy has more than enough room in the oceans to train effectively without injuring or killing endangered whales and other marine species," said Joel Reynolds, senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is suing the Navy over its sonar use. Navy officials said they're claiming a two-year exemption because a federal judge in California ruled last year that the Navy needed to do more detailed analysis of the effect its sonar training would have on the environment. The Navy says the new exemption will allow sailors to go ahead with 40 separate exercises over the next two years.
Note: For major media news articles on the damaging effects of certain advanced types of sonar in question on whole schools of dolphins and whales, click here.
The United States is facing increasing international pressure to place limitations on the use of military sonar ... that has been linked to mass strandings of whales. The European Union Parliament -- the most prominent of four international bodies that have taken up the matter in recent months -- called in October for its member states to develop a moratorium on all types of military sonars, which use powerful sound to locate objects such as submarines. According to studies cited by the EU and the other world bodies, noise can interfere with the survival of the ocean creatures that depend on sound to navigate, find food, locate mates, avoid predators and communicate with one another. At high decibel levels, noise can kill. The U.S. Navy is the biggest user of midfrequency active sonar in the world -- and government officials have been loath to require permits to regulate its use. In more than a dozen instances dating back to the 1960s, however, whales have stranded themselves on the beaches and sometimes died at the time of naval training exercises miles away using midfrequency active sonar. An unprecedented stranding of 16 beaked and minke whales in the Bahamas in 2000 brought worldwide attention to military sonar. A NOAA investigation concluded that a Navy testing maneuver using midfrequency sonar -- by far the most commonly used type of sonar -- was the likely cause. Necropsies found signs of brain hemorrhaging, which is consistent with injury from sound.
The Navy has acknowledged that vessels on maneuver off Hawaii in July used their sonar periodically in the 20 hours before a large pod of melon-headed whales unexpectedly came to shore in the area. The acknowledgment added to an already contentious debate over whether the sound from sonar has been causing marine mammals to strand. Navy officials said that a review of the July 3 incident indicates that two ships turned on their sonar between 6:45 and 7:10 a.m., by most accounts just before the unusual movement of almost 200 deep-water whales to the shoreline of a Kauai bay. The Navy had said earlier that no sonar was used until more than 90 minutes later, well after the animals came ashore. "Every time the Navy changes its story, it reduces its credibility on this issue," said Cara Horowitz, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Residents and government officials worked throughout July 3 to steer the whales back to open water, and all made it except one newborn calf that died of starvation. The Hawaii incident is the third significant one involving sonar and marine mammal strandings near the United States since 2000. The stranding of 17 whales of various kinds off the Bahamas in 2000, which resulted in the death of at least six of them, occurred during a major Navy maneuver. Navy officials at first said there was no connection between their exercise and the stranding, but later acknowledged that the loud sound from the sonar had caused the animals to flee ashore.
A humpback whale freed by divers from a tangle of crab trap lines near the Farallon Islands nudged its rescuers and flapped around in what marine experts said was a rare and remarkable encounter. "It felt to me like it was thanking us, knowing that it was free and that we had helped it," James Moskito, one of the rescue divers, said Tuesday. "It stopped about a foot away from me, pushed me around a little bit and had some fun." Sunday's daring rescue was the first successful attempt on the West Coast to free an entangled humpback. It was a very risky maneuver...because the mere flip of a humpback's massive tail can kill a man. "I was the first diver in the water, and my heart sank when I saw all the lines wrapped around it," said [James] Moskito. "I really didn't think we were going to be able to save it." Moskito said about 20 crab-pot ropes, which are 240 feet long with weights every 60 feet, were wrapped around the animal. Rope was wrapped at least four times around the tail, the back and the left front flipper, and there was a line in the whale's mouth. Moskito and three other divers spent about an hour cutting the ropes with a special curved knife. The whale floated passively in the water the whole time, he said, giving off a strange kind of vibration. "When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me," Moskito said. "It was an epic moment of my life." When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.
Alongside the submarines, ships and airplanes participating in large-scale military exercises in the Pacific this month, a team of sea lions and dolphins are expected to patrol the sea. These marine animals will be flown in from San Diego for simulated mine recovery and mine detection during the biennial RIMPAC war games. Six bottle-nosed dolphins would find the mines, while four California sea lions would help recover them. High-tech gadgets deployed by the military can't match the natural skills of the dolphins and sea lions. Sea lions have "incredibly good underwater hearing" and can dive to 1,000 feet to attach a recovery line to a simulated mine, he said. Dolphins use their sonar to find the mines. Marine mammals have been used by the Navy since the early 1960s. The animals save the Navy an estimated $1 million a year. The $15 million Marine Mammal Program has 75 dolphins and 30 sea lions at its San Diego facility. Opponents of the program say the military should not train animals for use in warfare.
Dolphins may be closer to humans than previously realised, with new research showing they communicate by whistling out their own 'names'. The research was carried out by Vincent Janik of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrews University. He said: "Each animal develops an individually distinctive signature whistle in the first few months of its life, which appears to be used in individual recognition." The research has its origin in the 1960s when dolphin trainers first noticed that captive animals each had their own personal repertoire of whistles. Janik's work was based on a group of dolphins living in Sarasota Bay, Florida, who have been studied for more than 30 years. The findings are supported by other authorities. Denise Herzing, research director at the Wild Dolphin Project at Florida Atlantic University, said it was already clear that many of the 77 known cetacean (whale and dolphin) species had rudimentary languages. "We know that dolphins brains are nearly as large and complex, relative to body size, as those of humans."
Hundreds of dead dolphins washed up Friday along the shore of a popular tourist destination on Zanzibar's northern coast, and scientists ruled out poisoning. The bottleneck dolphins, which live in deep offshore waters, had empty stomachs, meaning that they could have been disoriented and were swimming for some time to reorient themselves. They did not starve to death and were not poisoned. In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from U.S. submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Florida, where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March 2005. A U.S. Navy task force patrols the East Africa coast as part of counterterrorism operations.
Federal marine specialists have concluded that Navy sonar was the most likely cause of the unusual stranding of melon-headed whales in a Hawaiian bay in 2004. The appearance of as many as 200 of the normally deep-diving whales in Hanalei Bay in Kauai occurred while a major American-Japanese sonar training exercise was taking place. The report is the latest in a series of scientific reviews linking traditional mid-frequency naval sonar to whale strandings. The active sonar used by navies sends out loud pings of sound that seem to frighten and disorient whales. The effect was documented off Greece in 1996 and established later during naval exercises in the Bahamas, off the Canary Islands and off Spain. In the 2000 Bahamas stranding, a local marine biologist collected some of the whales that died onshore and froze them for later study -- which helped NOAA conclude that sonar was the likely cause. Michael Jasny, a senior consultant with NRDC, said the NOAA report was worrisome. "Once again, the Navy's denial has been contradicted by the official government investigation. It's time for the Navy to stop this needless infliction of harm."
Pentagon scientists are planning to turn sharks into "stealth spies" capable of tracking vessels undetected, a British magazine has reported. They want to remotely control the sharks by implanting electrodes in their brains, The New Scientist says. It says the aim is "to exploit sharks' natural ability to glide through the water, sense delicate electrical gradients and follow chemical trails". The research is being funded by the Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It aims to build on latest developments in brain implant technology which has already seen scientists controlling the movements of fish, rats and monkeys. Such devices are already being used by scientists at Boston University to "steer" a spiny dogfish in a fish tank. The next step for the Pentagon scientists will be the release of blue sharks with similar devices into the ocean off the coast of Florida. Remote-controlled sharks...have advantages that robotic underwater surveillance vehicles just cannot match: they are silent, and they power themselves.
Note: This article fails to mention that electronic implants we used over 40 years ago to control the behavior of bulls, as reported on the front page of the New York Times on May 17, 1965. To see the Times article, go to http://www.WantToKnow.info/delgadobullnytimes.pdf. For lots more reliable information on government mind control programs: http://www.WantToKnow.info/mindcontrol
Naval maneuvers and submarine sonars in oceans are a new factor among many threatening dolphins, whales and porpoises that depend on sound to survive, the United Nations and marine experts said on Wednesday. "These low frequency sounds travel vast distances, hundreds if not thousands of kilometers from the source," [Mark Simmonds of the Whale and Dolphin Society] told Reuters. UNEP said underwater sonar and military maneuvers threatened more than 4 percent of species, although Simmonds indicated all were affected. In October, a coalition of environmental groups sued the U.S. Navy over its use of sonar, saying the ear-splitting sounds violated environmental protection laws. The report by UNEP and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) says species like the Beluga whale, Blanville's beaked whale and the Goosebeak whale are seriously at risk from noise pollution.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.