Wednesday, June 26, 2019
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Hear Orcas with the new underwater microphone installed in front of Whidbey Island

by Suzanne Phan / KOMO News

There's a new way you can enjoy the orcas that call the Puget Sound home. They are now beginning to return to the region, and the Orca Network has installed a new underwater microphone, also called hydrophone, on the west side of Whidbey Island to monitor their activity.

It is a new tool for monitoring the South American Orcas.

"We all have this inborn curiosity about what they say," said Scott Veirs, coordinator of the Orca Network. "We are a very vocal special. Killer whales are also very loud. They have a wide range of sounds that they make – from phone calls to whistles. "

In autumn and early winter, orcas spend a lot of time feeding salmon in Puget Sound.

"We can hear killer whales 10 kilometers away, so it's about 6 miles," Veirs said.

We spoke to the diver Florian Graner, who installed the hydrophone

"This is a very strategic thing for Puget Sound and it gives everyone the opportunity to hear the whales and at the same time you can hear boats. You hear freighters, "Graner said.

Scientists say the Orca population is fighting for a variety of reasons, including the decline in Chinook populations and noise in the water. This makes it difficult for whales – using the sounds to navigate – to find food. Scientists say that they hope that people like to listen to the animals but also do something to protect them.

You can listen to the hydrophone on the Internet at Live.Orcasound.net>>

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