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On World Oceans Day, protecting some of its largest inhabitants has become easier with the launch of the Whale Alert app for Android.

appThis free app now available on Android and Apple devices is the first of its kind created to protect and conserve whales along both coasts of the United States and now Canada’s eastern seaboard.

Whale alert displays real-time data on whale management areas, speed regulations, and recommended routes warning shippers and vessel captains of whale activity in their immediate vicinity prompting ships to slow down or reroute to avoid severely injuring or killing these animals.

“Collisions with high speed ships are a leading cause of mortality for some species of large whales,” said Patrick Ramage, IFAW Whale Program Director.  “Whale Alert literally puts a whale conservation solution in your hands making it quick and easy to report whale sightings, contribute to awareness and understanding of the marine environment, and allow mariners and the public to directly engage in whale conservation.”

Members of the public can also contribute as citizen scientists by reporting sightings of live, dead, and distressed whales via the app. This information will not only help inform future management measures and real-time whale advisories but connects the user directly to the appropriate regional network to improve response to injured, entangled and stranded animals.

While Whale Alert adds additional new features for managers and mariners including an enhanced ability to push dynamic management areas to the app, conditional email alerts based on number, time and frequency of sightings and NOAA PORTS tide and current data, at its core, Whale Alert is a tool designed to reduce ship strikes to large whales.

“The availability of the Android version now more than doubles the reach of this tool – alerting anyone with the app where and when to be careful,” stated Brad Winney, co-founder of Conserve.iO.   “This is a particularly powerful aspect of the system.”

Ramage added:  “Commercial ship pilots don’t want to kill whales.  Whale Alert leverages 21st century technology to make compliance with regulations easier, helping busy mariners ensure safe passage.”

Whale Alert was developed by IFAW in collaboration with NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Conserve.iO and other partners.

Whale Alert is available for free download from Google Play and the iTunes App Store.

To download Whale Alert and for more information visit: www.whalealert.org.

To learn more about IFAW activities to protect whales go to: www.ifaw.org.

(This post originally appeared on IFAW.)

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