If you are one to feel a twinge of guilt or sorrow when an indecisive squirrel falls victim to the wheels of your car, then you might spare a thought for some of the larger marine mammals that may also be prey to driving. Although we're sure none of you have ever had to slam on the brakes or employ any other emergency avoidance maneuvers because Flipper or Willy neglected to look both ways before darting out into traffic, a new report released at a UN-backed conference reveals our oil consumption may be having a deadly effect on whales and dolphins.

The problem is caused by intense noise in the oceans that interferes with the animals ability to communicate, find food and mate. As demand for new oil reserves grows, the seas are being increasingly searched using seismic surveys that create a "colossal" cacophony from 285 decibel blasts that get repeated every ten seconds. For months. The problem is exacerbated by rising CO2 levels changing the ocean's chemistry which allows sound to travel farther. The report, titled "Ocean Noise: Turn it Down", urges tighter rules on the surveys and other measures.

[Source: Environmental News Service]


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