"Unique colony of blue whales increasingly at risk from tankers and container ships, say marine campaigners".
"Scientists and conservation groups are calling for one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes to be rerouted in an effort to protect the world’s largest animal.
Since 2008, researchers have been painstakingly piecing together clues about a little-known, endangered population of blue whales that live off the southern tip of Sri Lanka. What they have discovered so far hints at one group of cetaceans or even a sub-species. Rather than migrating vast distances like most blue whales, the Sri Lankan population is thought to live in the region year-round, grazing on tiny shrimps and communicating via distinctive vocalisations.
What has also become clear is the immense threat they face. The whales’ habitat overlaps with a major shipping artery that connects east Asia to the Suez Canal, leaving them vulnerable to ship strikes and noise pollution.
On an average day the whales face off against a relentless barrage of about 200 ships, many of them container ships or oil tankers that stretch up to 300 metres in length."