Peru, stop killing dolphins with seismic testing!

  • by: Anique Hoekstra
  • target: The Peruvian government and the International Whaling Commission

Between January and April 2014, over A THOUSAND DOLPHINS washed up ashore in northern Peru. They included males and females, adults, juveniles and newborn babies: whole pods died. This massacre is the awful result of just one thing, seismic testing undertaken by oil companies. Stop seismic exploration in Peru and save the dolphins!

In seismic exploration, sound blasts are sent to the bottom of the ocean. They bounce back and are picked up by hydrophones to create an image of the seabed. Dolphins can hear the frequency that is used for the surveys. The blasts are so loud and so frequent that they cause damage to the dolphins' ears. The sound waves start a chain reaction in which the dolphins' ear bones can crack, their veins can explode and their organs end up full of air bubbles. The dolphins can end up with decompression sickness and become disoriented, feel terrible pain and become deaf so they can no longer dive and fish. Ultimately, the dolphins die in agony.

The seismic tests were done in the first half year of 2012 and again in 2014. This is the time of the year the dolphins (long-beaked common dolphins) are in the area and have their babies. As a result, around a thousand dolphins died in 2012 and even more died at the beginning of this year.

In 2012, Peruvian authorities denied the real cause of death and said a virus killed the dolphins. This year they have been saying a toxic algae is the cause. No evidence for either of these suggestions has been found.

A Peruvian independent non-profit organization called ORCA has examined the dolphins' dead bodies. In 2012 and this year, this organization came to the same conclusion: The dolphins died because of acoustic impact. Acoustic impact can only be created by the sound blasts of seismic surveys; in both years, these surveys were conducted at the time of the mass stranding.

We cannot allow another mass mortality event in 2016! Therefore, the laws in Peru (The Hidrocarbons Law, the Cetacean Law and the Animal Welfare Act) must be changed to protect dolphins and prohibit seismic exploration the way it is done now. Tell the Peruvian government to revise its law and save the dolphins!

Furthermore, it is important to present the research results about seismic testing and dolphin deaths to the International Whaling Commission in September this year. Even though the IWC has previously received evidence that 'sound' can kill cetaceans, they still do not recognize it as a direct killer. Presenting the IWC the results of what happened in Peru will hopefully change their view on seismic testing so that laws for conducting these surveys also in other countries will get revised. Tell the IWC to revise its view on the impact of sound on cetaceans and save dolphins worldwide!

Please be the voice of the dolphins. Tell the world what happened to them so others may live... 

Thanks a lot!

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