Subject: Abstract: sperm whale response to playback (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 23 Jul 1998 10:18:11 -0400 (EDT)

Sperm Whale Behavioural Response after the Playback of Artificial
Andre, M., Terada, M. and Watanabe, Y. Rep.Int.Whal,Commn.47:499-504


Shipping has been responsible recently for many collisions with
cetaceans in the Canary Islands, particularly sperm whales which are
present throughout the years in these waters. A series of experiments,
including the playback of artificial sounds of different frequencies,
was conducted to test a system designed to try and deter sperm whales
from occupying the ferry routes. The main purpose of these preliminary
tests was to observe the behavioural responses of the whales and try to
assess the potential of this method to protect both the whales and the
ferries. The results showed that the whales did not react to low
frequency playbacks which suggests that sperm whales from an area which
has heavy vessel traffic have a high tolerance for noise. Developing a
solution to the problem of accidental collisions, lies in a better
understanding of the hearing sensitivity of the local populations of
whales in order to determine whether a warning or scaring sound could
have a long term effect to keep them apart efficiently from the ferries
without harming them or inducing  them to leave a valuable area.

Dr. Michel  Andre
University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
TrasMontana, 35416 Arucas,;;;;Gran Canaria;Canary Islands;Spain
tel;work:       +34-928 45 10 96
tel;fax:        +34-928 45 11 41

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