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In the News

New York Times: New System Aims to Save Whales Near San Francisco From Ship Collisions

September 21, 2022
  • Species conservation
  • Pathology
  • Climate change

Four whales have died near San Francisco this year after ships crashed into them, and scientists hope to drive that number to zero with new technology.

Published in The New York Times: September 21, 2022

Fran washed ashore in August, some 25 miles south of the Golden Gate Bridge. The beloved and much-photographed female humpback whale had a broken neck, most likely the result of being hit by a ship.

This latest instance of oceanic roadkill increased the tally of whales killed by ships near San Francisco this year to four. The true death toll is likely to be much higher as whale carcasses often sink to the sea floor.

Scientists and conservationists are trying to drive that number to zero. On Wednesday, Whale Safe, an A.I.-powered detection system, began operating around San Francisco Bay. Its goal is to warn large ships in the area’s waters when whales are nearby.

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species conservation
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