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Navy sonar scares beaked whales

A new study has revealed that beaked whales are in fact scared of military sonar sounds.

The news comes via a recent report conducted by Scottish researchers from the University of St Andrews, in which they said that beaked whales appeared to move away from unusual or loud sounds. The findings were published in the PLoS One journal and confirm earlier links between military sonar and the beaching of beaked whales from previous studies.

The team came to the conclusion after they observed the species along with marine experts in the Bahamas. There, they recorded the whales’ reaction to navy sonar exercises as well as with simulated sonar signals at the Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center for the United States Navy.

The small species of whale is more elusive than most and are get their name from their notably long snouts. But they have also become widely known for being put at risk by navy sonar signals after two large pods of beaked whales were found stranded and dead in 2000 and 2002.

Lead researcher Professor Ian Boyd said that the team’s observations clearly showed the animals avoiding military sonar signals. He added that he thinks in some situations they’re simply unable to avoid them and end up stranded and eventually dead.

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