Tue, 26 Sep 2023

Israeli waters home to endangered whales: study

29 May 2023, 04:30 GMT+10

JERUSALEM, May 28 (Xinhua) -- A new study found that Israel's economic waters in the Mediterranean Sea are home to various species of whales and dolphins, including two endangered ones, Greenpeace Israel said Sunday.

The research, carried out by Greenpeace, the University of Haifa and Italian researchers, included a survey through acoustic-visual monitoring of marine mammals.

The team found a group of sperm whales, 15 km from the coast of Haifa, alongside four Cuvier's beaked whales.

The sperm whale is defined as "vulnerable" in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while the population of the second whale species in the Mediterranean is also considered vulnerable by the Union.

The study also located a bottlenose dolphin and seven other dolphins of an unidentified species in Israeli waters.

Greenpeace stated that the Mediterranean Sea contains extensive deep plains, with canals bordered by slopes, which are an important habitat for marine mammals.

The authors warned that new natural gas and oil explorations planned in Israel's economic waters could seriously harm marine mammals, especially the two whale species, adding an immediate systematic survey of marine mammals is essential.

"Both species are adversely affected by noises originating from human activity, and may also be seriously harmed in the event of a spill disaster at sea," they wrote.

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