Russian oil and gas company Rosneft plans to begin seismic surveys next week that could hurt the critically endangered western grey whale – despite calls from 12 governments and the public to suspend the tests for a year.
We need your help more then ever!
The Western North Pacific Gray Whale is critically endangered, with population numbers as low as 130 individuals, and with only around 30 breeding females remaining.
Yet a major seismic survey – blasts of acoustic noise used to detect oil and gas deposits under the ocean floor – is due to start in just a few weeks in the gray whales’ main feeding habitat, off Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East.
Several scientific bodies, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), have outlined their extreme concern that this seismic survey could result in serious damage to the survival and recovery of Western Gray Whales.
Yet Rosneft – the Russian company conducting the survey – still plans to go ahead, and there is no evidence that the company will undertake the necessary measures to minimise the impact of the survey on the endangered whales.
The Western Gray Whales are just now arriving in their feeding ground where the survey will take place. This area is particularly important for the whales, as scientists believe it is where mother whales teach their calves to feed just before they become independent. The seismic survey is expected to significantly disturb feeding and nursing gray whales.
We need your help to tell Rosneft they must postpone this survey at least until June 2011!
If conducted next year, it is feasible for Rosneft to conduct their survey early in the season, before the whales have arrived in their feeding ground. Postponing the survey for a year would also enable Rosneft to develop the precautionary monitoring and mitigation measures that are so essential to minimize the impact of the survey on the whales.
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