Minke Whales harassed by Navy Sonar

Photo Lewis Drysdale

Photo Lewis Drysdale

Yet another unfortunate event involving whales and mid-frequency sonar; two minke whales were seen “porpoising” at high speeds in waters where military operations were taking place. Observers also heard extremely loud sonar concurrent to the sightings.

Minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales, reaching a bit over 30 ft. in length. Porpoising is a shallow and fast skipping across the top of the water, given to porpoises and dolphins, not 11 ton baleen whales.

It is probable that these animals were keeping as close to, and above the water surface to keep their hearing either out of harms way, or near the surface where some attenuation is afforded. (This is similar to the protective strategy used by the orcas during the Haro Strait incident in 2004).

The article also mentions a decrease in population over the years, though the sonar correlation is only insinuated.

For the complete article see: http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/whales-sonar009.html#cr

This news was sent to us by OCR Board member and Acoustic Ecologists Jim Cummings. (See: www.acousticecology.org )

More sad news about our complex relationship with the sea.