Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Are We Listening?

The bioacoustics research program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a snazzy site that's all about listening for right whales in an effort to protect them from ship strikes. Once the buoys detect the sound of a whale -- including rights, humpacks and fins -- the recordings get sent back to Cornell where software and researchers identify the sound. If the sound is indeed a whale, ships in the area are notified and encouraged to slow their speed to avoid an unfortunate situation.

It's important for us to listen to the whales, especially if it helps us to understand them and avoid unnecessary injury and/or death. It's too bad, then, that this project is facing a budget shortfall and has had to pull the buoys that record the sounds. Hopefully this is not the end of the program. Only time will tell if the future will bring additional funding.

I wonder if we will see an increase in ship strikes now that the buoys have been lifted?

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