Interview with Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara
Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara
Mr. Notarbartolo, beaked whales are mysterious animals. They dive deep, almost don’t show themselves and have bodies full of marks. Could you describe these animals a bit more? Where do they live? How is their nature and character? What are their behaviours?
Beaked whales are a fascinating group of Cetaceans, belonging to the family Ziphiidae, which comprises 5 genera and 22 species. Of all these, however, only one, the Cuvier’s beaked whale Ziphius cavirostris, occurs regularly in the Mediterranean Sea. All species are deep divers, spending a large portion of their life underwater to hunt deepwater squid which are their preferred prey, and are therefore greatly adapted to a lifestyle which is extremely challenging for an air-breathing mammal. Such lifestyle, in addition to their shyness and levels of sociality that are lower than that of their delphinid cousins, makes them very difficult to observe and for this reason they have remained rather mysterious and amongst the least known cetaceans. Some species have been described solely on the basis of the finding of dead animals, found stranded on a beach.
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Sigrid, more than 150 sea turtles and 6 dolphins stranded during the time of oil explorations in the Adriatic Sea off Croatia. Was the noise too much for them?
Sigrid Lüber, President of OceanCare,
initiater of Silent Oceans
This is currently investigated by the Padua University in Italy. One thing is certain: There has never before been such an accumulation of reports on stranding events that prove or suspect underwater noise by oil explorations, oil drillings or military sonar to be the cause of death. The most recent case is the stranding of about 400 dolphins in Peru a few days ago. The oceans have been filled with infernal noise.
Draško, you study cetaceans in Croatian waters for two decades. What are your main concerns about the recent seismic activities in Croatian waters?
There are two main types of impact from the seismic survey that could have an influence on Cetaceans – one is direct injury, based on acute physical damage caused by the sound emission, this could vary from fatal to long or short term injury. The other aspect is disturbance resulting in a number of impacts on the individuals and populations.
Draško Holcer, a researcher working for the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation
Although mortality incidents are usually the most obvious consequence of high-levels sound emissions in the sea, I believe that we should actually be more concerned with the longer term effects of non-fatal injuries and the impact of disturbance. For example – Cetaceans depend on sound under water, if their hearing is impaired, or they are deafened due to injuries to their ears they will not be fully fit for life in the sea and that could impact their survival and thus the population in the long term. Weiterlesen