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Newer sonar technology still a threat to whales

A magical sperm whale encounter

A study into the effects of underwater sonar has revealed that newer technology is as disruptive to whales as sonar used by the military.

Researchers at St Andrews University in Scotland, led by Professor Patrick Miller, compared experiments on continuous sonar near Norway undertaken previously with new data from the new, continuous sonar.

Continuous sonar pulses are transmitted at lower level and spread out over longer duration. It had been suggested that this newer technology might less disruptive for whales. But the impact of the two sonar systems on feeding behaviour of the sperm whales that they observed was similar. The whales stopped foraging for food no matter which type of sonar was used.

Underwater noise pollution from the military, oil and gas exploration is a threat to whales and dolphins because they live in a world of sound and rely on it for catching prey, communicating and navigation. Any human noise in the water can have a serious effect on whales and dolphins and can cause death.

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