skip navigation
Support KUOW
Listen to KUOW News

Audio not available.

KUOW News on Demand

KUOW News

Tracking Orcas in British Columbia

Ruby de Luna
06/20/2002

Canadian scientists hope to learn more about killer whales along the British Columbia coast with new underwater listening devices. We get more from KUOW’s Ruby de Luna.

THIS WINTER SCIENTISTS WILL PLACE VOICE RECORDING DEVICES IN REMOTE AREAS TO MONITOR ORCAS. RESEARCHERS NOW USE UNDERWATER MICS ALONG THE COAST THAT ARE LINKED BY CABLES TO LAND-BASED FACILITIES SUCH AS LIGHTHOUSES, WHERE SOMEONE MANUALLY RECORDS THE SOUND. This has been great but it doesn’t work in very remote places where there’s no people around to listen. JOHN FORD IS A MARINE MAMMAL SCIENTIST WITH THE CANADIAN DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES. HE AND OTHER RESEARCHERS HAVE DEVELOPED A VOICE ACTIVATED DEVICE THAT SPECIFICALLY ZEROES IN ON WHALE SOUNDS. FORD SAYS THEY HOPE THE DEVICES CAN TELL THEM WHERE THE WHALES GO IN THE WINTER. HE POINTS OUT MOST OF THE DEATHS IN THE PODS TAKE PLACE DURING THOSE MONTHS… We suspect there’s something going on, perhaps in the winter, where we don’t know where the whales are, that might be leading to the recent decline that we’ve seen. FORD SAYS IT’LL BE EASY TO DISTINGUISH ONE POD FROM ANOTHER BECAUSE EACH HAS A DIFFERENT DIALECT. RESEARCHERS WILL TEST THE NEW RECORDING EQUIPMENT THIS SUMMER AND HOPE TO START EAVESDROPPING ON THE WHALES OFF THE COAST THIS WINTER. I’M RUBY DE LUNA, KUOW 94.9 PUBLIC RADIO.

01.23.18

Schedules

spacer