The Navy's practice exercises and sonar are wreaking havoc on highly intelligent and social endangered orcas, dolphins and other marine mammals that depend on sound to communicate, find food and raise their young.
Sonar risks putting a stop to all that life-sustaining activity: It's nearly as loud as an explosive, and it can cause hearing loss and even death.
The harms of Navy sonar use are well documented, implicated in the mass strandings of marine mammals from Southern California to the Bahamas and as far as the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco.
In 2004 Naval sonar use stranded as many as 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, near Hawaii. Now the Pacific Northwest is about to get more Navy war games off its coast if we don't act fast.
There are only about 80 orcas left off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California -- so protection for each of them is vital.
Please take action and urge the Navy to train in a way that doesn't tear the fragile fabric of our oceans' web of life.
I am writing with serious concern about the Navy's proposed use of sonar in the Northwest Training Range. Marine mammals are extremely sensitive to noise, and sonar destroys important habitat and disrupts the essential behavior of killer whales, blue whales, harbor porpoises and other marine wildlife.
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In 2004 the Navy's sonar was implicated in a mass stranding of as many as 200 melon-headed whales in Hanalei Bay, near Hawaii. And in 2003 the USS Shoup exposed a group of endangered orcas to sonar in Washington's Haro Strait, causing the animals to stop feeding and attempt to flee the painful sound.
The Navy must first consider an alternative that puts key biological areas off limits to testing and training activities, and that mitigates and reduces the impacts of training and testing on the region's valuable wildlife.
Please -- as you continue to provide for our country's defense, find a way to train that respects and protects our natural resources and our ocean's sensitive wildlife.
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