Shipping Lanes Change Could be Sea Change for Sri Lanka’s Blue Whales

When some of the biggest machines ever made meet the largest animals to ever live, it often doesn’t work out well for the latter. In March 2012, a container ship sailed into the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka, with the body of a blue whale snagged across its bow. Less than two weeks later, another blue whale carcass was found floating off the country’s southern coast, its tail almost severed in what could only have been a ship strike.

The waters off southern Sri Lanka are a rich feeding and nursing area for blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus). But they’re also an important shipping lane, which makes them a “collision hotspot,” according to Ranil Nanayakkara from the conservation outfit Biodiversity Education and Research (BEAR).

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