Noise pollution turning blue whales deaf
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 24, 2009, 18:32
London: The world largest animal, the blue whale is slowly turning deaf due to increasing noise pollution in the ocean waters by humans, according to a new research.

The blue whales are suffering from hearing loss, they are being forced to increase their 'singing' to cope with noise pollution and where displaying behavioural changes due to man-made noise, scientists found.

The endangered blue whale uses sonar to navigate, locate prey, avoid predators and communicate. The increasing use of hi-tech sonar by ships, the noise of propellers, seismic surveys, sea-floor drilling, and low-frequency radio transmissions have made oceans noisier and is interfering with whales communication signals, according to a Daily Telegraph report.

Zoologist Lucia Di Iorio, of the University of Zurich, analysed the song of blue whales through microphones in the St Lawrence estuary off Canada's north east coast over an eleven day period in August 2004.

"We found that blue whales called consistently more on seismic exploration days than on non-exploration days as well as during periods within a seismic survey day when the sparker was operating," she was quoted by the paper.

"This study suggests careful reconsideration of the potential behavioural impacts of even low source level seismic survey sounds on large whales. This is particularly relevant when the species is at high risk of extinction as is the blue whale," added Di Iorio.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 24, 2009, 18:32

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