Saturday, April 07, 2012

How to Save a Whale - Buy an App

Ever wondered how to save a whale?

That is the big question that comes to mind when reading that only about 350 to 550 Right Whales are left in the seas. But there's hope. A new App for Apple's iPad and iPhone can help and show how to save a whale. No, this is no joke. It's a serious project between US government agencies such a NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), National Park Service, Coast Guard.
Read the full story by

North Atlantic Right Whale killed by a propeller. Image from Wikipedia. Used with permission.

Conservationists are hoping a new iPad and iPhone app that warns ships when whales are nearby will help save an endangered species from extinction.

The Whale Alert app, available for free download, uses global positioning system and other technology to transmit the latest available data about the movements of right whales, which live in the North Atlantic.

Marine authorities estimate there are only 350 to 550 of the mammals left in the world.

It is hoped the system will limit the number of deadly collisions they suffer with ships, especially larger craft, such as cruise and container ships.

When whales are detected in an area, vessels can alter course slightly or slow down.

'Right whales are an iconic species for those who live on the coast of Massachusetts and the Northeast US,' said Patrick Ramage, director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts.

'In a region where for generations New Englanders have harnessed technology to find whales and kill them.

'Now, in the 21st century, we are harnessing technology to find them and save them.'

Collisions with vessels killed more than one third of the right whales which were reported dead between 1970 and 2007.

The app was developed for Apple's iPads and iPhones by EarthNC, which specialises in spatial mapping systems for the leisure boating community.

The project is a joint effort between NOAA and other US government agencies, including the National Park Service and the Coast Guard, universities, and conservation groups.

Here's some more info directly from EarthNC.

I've been whale watching myself multiple times. A great experience that I can recommend to everyone. Good to see that government and corporations adding their contribution on how to save a whale.