Whales and other marine mammals rely on their hearing for life’s most basic functions, such as orientation and communication. Sound is how they find food, find friends, find a mate, and find their way through the world every day.
So when a sound thousands of times more powerful than a jet engine fills their ears, the results can be devastating — and even deadly.
This is the reality that whales and other marine mammals face because of human-caused noise in the ocean, whether it’s the sound of airguns used in oil exploration or subs and ships emitting sonar. Manmade sound waves can drown out the noises that marine mammals rely on for their very survival, causing serious injury and even death.
The National Resources Defense Council (NDRC) has been a leader in the battle to regulate sonar use and protect whales and other species from its harmful effects. In 2008, a case filed by NRDC against the U.S. Navy was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.