2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 21 Jul 2003 15:58:16 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Mammals get more tests to determine cause of death
Mammals get more tests to determine cause of death
By Kathy Mulady
Monday, July 21, 2003

CT scans will help scientists see if the 13 harbor porpoises died from
trauma after the Navy tested sonar in the San Juan Islands

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE -- The action inside the parking garage at the Center
for Diagnostic Imaging yesterday morning looked like either a scene from
the "X-Files" or a roadside frozen seafood sale.

One-by-one, a half-dozen harbor porpoises, most of them wrapped in black
plastic, were pulled out of a chest freezer in the back of a white
pickup truck, laid on a stretcher and taken up the elevator to a room
were they were scanned for signs of trauma from noise to their brains or
inner ears. It was a first for the imaging center, which had previously
only scanned humans.

The marine mammals were found beached near the San Juan Islands in early
May, around the same time the Navy was testing sonar in the Haro Strait.

Wildlife biologists want to know if the sonar killed the porpoises. A
total of 13 porpoises were found dead after the May sonar tests.

Later this week, necropsies and toxicology studies will be done to see
if there might have been other factors, including contamination,
malnourishment, disease or perhaps a run-in with fishing nets that could
explain why they ended up on the beach.

"Spring is the time for porpoise strandings; it's not really that
unusual," said Brad Hanson, a wildlife biologist with the Northwest
Fishery Science Center.

"The sonar tests could be a factor, we don't necessarily know at this
time if it was."

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