“NOAA has said that the mortality of three mature sperm whales” could cause “the population to collapse and go into extinction” in the Gulf


Greenpeace’s Gulf investigation continues, looks at effects of BP oil spill on aquatic life, Creative Loafing (Arielle Stevenson), September 15, 2010:

Excerpt

“Because they are a listed endangered species under the Marine Animal Protection Act, NOAA has had a high interest in these particular [sperm] whales for a long time. NOAA has said that the mortality of three mature sperm whales could possibly be a tipping point to cause the population to collapse and go into extinction.”

Whales, like other marine species, are very sensitive to toxins.

Read the post here.

Researchers specializing in sperm whales have been monitoring populations in the northern Gulf for years. Sperm whales make a loud clicking noise which has been captured through three deepwater sonar buoys. Lucky for Greenpeace, one of those buoys happens to be six miles from the well head, the farthest being 60 miles away. If the oil has impacted sperm whales, no one would know without audio data.

Why?

Because when sperm whales die, they sink.

“There is estimated to be 1500-1600 sperm whales dispersed in smaller family pods around the Gulf of Mexico,” said Kline. “Because they are a listed endangered species under the Marine Animal Protection Act, NOAA has had a high interest in these particular whales for a long time. NOAA has said that the mortality of three mature sperm whales could possibly be a tipping point to cause the population to collapse and go into extinction.”

Whales, like other marine species, are very sensitive to toxins. Researchers have monitored one pod of whales living just south of the spill. According to Kline, sperm whales are residential and tend to stay in the same spot. That means that while the deepwater buoys monitor audio in the ocean for 12 days, they’ll either hear the same whales clicking away or they won’t.

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