At first, I didn’t want to a pull a Debbie Downer on a Monday. But the weather here in NYC is shit – my two-block walk to Whole Foods was not fun as hail-sleet-rain pummeled down and the howling wind ate up my umbrella. Furthermore: dead whales. I finally got around to renting The Cove this past weekend. If you’ve seen it, you’ll remember the scene where Japanese boatmen hammer long poles into the ocean to stress out the dolphins and drive them toward said cove, where they’re basically shipped off to SeaWorld or slaughtered. I couldn’t even finish the movie, so disturbing was the imagery. So when I discovered that 33 pilot whales washed up dead on the Donegal coast in Ireland, I couldn’t help but put in my two cents. Sources say naval ships’ sound waves from sonar equipment may have killed them. May have? Fuck that.
Long-finned pilot whales are just as intelligent as bottlenose dolphins, and just as sonorous. Even a super low-frequency active sonar can negatively effect the whales. Says Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, “Basically it affects their sonar and causes a gas embolism, like the ‘bends.'”
This is one of the biggest mass deaths of whales in Irish history. it so happens this is the same species of whales that are subject to whale hunts in the Faroe Islands, where islanders basically herd them into a bay and kill them. Great. Another species destined to be endangered.
Advice to the Royal Navy: stop using your sonars in high-traffic whale zones and maybe research Acoustic Trauma. Or, better yet, rent The Cove for a proper education.