Target: Chuck Hagel, United States Secretary of Defense for the United States Department of Defense
Goal: Stop the U.S. Navy from killing marine life with sonar and weapons testing
Although the United States Navy has been conducting underwater testing of explosive weapons and sonar devices for many years, it plans to increase testing over the next five years. This increase was announced in spite of research the Navy funded, which actually confirms that this testing will severely impact the lives of whales and dolphins.
The Navy has acknowledged that thousands of marine animals will likely die from their explosive detonations, sonar testing, and being hit by ships. Explosive and sonar sounds will scare whale species into shallow waters where they become disoriented and wash ashore. Marine biologists are also concerned about how the prolonged stress that whales and dolphins will endure from changes in feeding, swimming, and communication will affect mating and forage.
“If you deafen a marine mammal for even a short period time, you are affecting its ability to survive,” said Michael Jasny of the Natural Resources Defense Council, whose group has sued to force the Navy to add more protections. Navy officials claim that sailors must receive this type of sonar training to preserve national security. However, scientists believe that the risk to marine life could be reduced if the Navy created safety zones to guarantee no high-intensity sonar activity near sanctuary areas with high concentrations of blue, gray, and fin whales.
Sign the below petition to urge the U.S. Navy to develop testing methods that don’t put whale and dolphin species at risk of endangerment and extinction.
Dear Secretary Hagel,
Underwater sonar and weapons testing puts the lives of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, fish, and other marine life at risk. These animals suffer loss of habitat, hearing loss, disruption of mating and feeding, beach strandings, and often death. According to a U.S. Navy report over 40 marine mammal species will be impacted by sonar testing along the East Coast, Southern California, Hawaii, and the Gulf of Mexico. These species include the endangered humpback whale and the blue whale.
I am urging you to work with environmental groups to develop testing methods that ensure national security without sacrificing the preservation of marine life. Please prevent the long-term suffering and death of marine life during routine training operations. Please listen to the recommendations of the scientific community and prohibit sonar and explosive testing in vital sanctuary areas and seasonal breeding grounds.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: mikebaird via Flickr