More pairs of rare whale, baby found this year than last few

  • In this Feb. 20, 2010 photo provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a female North Atlantic right whale Catalog #3911, right, swims with another whale. By February 2011, she was dead. A study published by the journal Current Biology on Thursday, June 3, 2021, says the hulking giants of the deep, the North Atlantic right whales, are about three feet smaller than they were just 20 years ago. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, NOAA Permit #594-1759 via AP)

Published: 6/4/2021 5:18:52 PM

Scientists who track a rare species of whale said more pairs of mother whales with babies have been spotted this year than the previous few.

The scientists follow North American right whales, which number only about 400. The New England Aquarium said Friday that scientists with the institution have identified a right whale mother and calf off Nova Scotia, bringing this year’s total of mother-calf pairs to 18.

That’s the highest number since 2013. Researchers have observed poor reproduction and high mortality among the whales in the years since then.

The aquarium said in a statement that “calving in this decade has been well below the annual average of 23 from the previous decade.” However, they added that “every calf brings hope.”

The whales are vulnerable to ship collisions and entanglement in fishing gear.

Associated Press

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