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Conservationists, big oil join forces to help whales

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Posted January 20, 2014
Keeping whales safe in sound
Whales rely on sound for communication, navigation and foraging. Exposure to loud noise from seismic surveys can result in stress and behaviour changes, affect foraging and nursing, or cause direct physical damage. The feeding areas near Sakhalin, a region with huge offshore oil and gas deposits subject to seismic surveying, are vital for survival of Western Gray Whales, listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They fast during the breeding season and most of their long migration from feeding to breeding and calving areas. Credit: Yuri Yakovlev
Conservationists have joined forces with a company working on one of the world’s largest oil and gas projects to help limit the impact of seismic surveys on endangered whales.

A group working to save the critically endangered western grey whales said Monday that it and the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company had drawn up stringent guidelines for carrying out surveys of the ocean floor in a way that would cause the least damage to the sound-sensitive mammals.

“This has managed to mitigate many of the potential damages,” said Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of the Global Marine and Polar Programme at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“The number of whales has actually increased” since the project began a decade ago, he told AFP, noting that the population of the endangered sea mammals is now believed to be between 150 and 180.

Read more at: Phys.org

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