Endangered Whale Species Is Having a Baby Boom
Finally, there’s good news coming from our oceans. According to researchers at the Center for Coastal Studies, three North Atlantic right whale mother and calf pairs were recently spotted in Cape Cod Bay — after zero North Atlantic right whale newborn sightings in 2018 — hinting at a mini baby boom this year.
TWO MORE RIGHT WHALE CALVES SEEN IN #CAPECOD BAY! On 4/11/19 the CCS #rightwhale aerial survey team saw 2 more mom/calf pairs in the bay, bringing the number of calves observed by CCS this season to 3. The moms are EgNo 4180 & EgNo 3317. More at https://t.co/SvNe25Hntf pic.twitter.com/qGIa5RV7dl
— CoastalStudies (@CCSPtown) 12 avril 2019
The North Atlantic right whales were hunted nearly to extinction back in the late 1800s, and were listed as endangered in 1970. Although whaling is not a threat for the species any longer, human interaction is. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, “The leading causes of known mortality for North Atlantic right whales are entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes.”
The coastal waters of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeastern Florida are the species’ calving areas. The coast of New England is their foraging area.
According to The Scientist, seven new calves have already been spotted off the southern US coast this year, which is an encouraging sign for the future of the species, but does not mean that the North Atlantic right whale is out of danger. There are only 450 North Atlantic right whales and the species would need more than seven new calves to thrive again.
There exist three species of right whales in our oceans: the North Atlantic right whale, the North Pacific right whale, and the Southern right whale (pictured above). According to the NOAA Fisheries, there are fewer than 200 North Pacific right whales left.