Navy sonar is like unsolicited sales calls to whales.

"So...the Navy will continue to use sonar, but we can pick any beach in the world. To die on." ©D.Barstow

I first read about this last fall. From the Christian Science Monitor:

In a 6-3 ruling on Wednesday, the high court criticized a federal judge in California for imposing restrictions that the majority justices said jeopardized national security in an effort to protect the environment.

MFA sonars send intense pulses of noise through the water that can disrupt or injure marine mammals nearby. Scientists say it can trigger fatal mass strandings under certain circumstances.

Joel Reynolds, a senior NRDC attorney, said the high court left in place undisputed portions of the federal judge’s order concerning Navy training. As a result, the Navy must continue to abide by a 12-mile coastal buffer zone and must continue to avoid the Catalina Basin, an area with a high concentration of marine mammals.

Check out this killer whale video to actually see whales in Puget Sound reacting to Navy sonar.  Umm, how much proof are they waiting for?

Well, that’s the point, isn’t it. The Navy has the proof, they’re just making a judgment call (no puns, thanks.) that they have to keep making the same sonar sounds over and over, like 3 year olds playing with their toys.   I’ve noticed some scientists are like this, too, unfortunately; they base science on a hypothesis, with a provable result, and then spend years doing the SAME tests over and over. That sounds like a video game to me.

Anyway, I see very few editorial cartoons about natural history or science or even technology, and I don’t know why. Do they know something I don’t? Maybe. So I do some, because the world outside of the White House is important, too, but I space them out!  Cbc news agrees with me, and reports on 3 dolphins trapped in ice that locals rescued.

However, human activity that causes a lot of underwater noise might also play a role when the animals are near the edge of the ice, Murison said.

“They may panic and end up in an area where the ice can close in on them,” she said.

The article says more than 40 whales are beached in Nova Scotia each year.  Australia has had more than 400 whales beached this year, although they did save some. From timesonline:

Mark Simmonds, of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and an expert on cetacean strandings, said that two species coming ashore together was enough to arouse suspicions of a human factor, including the use of sonar by the military.

When I did this cartoon a week ago, 55 whales had just been stranded in South Africa. They didn’t try to save these whales, like most civilized countries; they just shot them. Even though this is a rather simple cartoon in theory, I still had to do research on what whales look like! Real whales don’t look anything like cartoon whales, as it turns out, but I also didn’t want them to look like dolphins. I hope I made my point anyway.

*An update in the opinion page of the Monitor by a real whale guy: he asserts that sonar has been proved to directly kill whales. Sad.