Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

First North Atlantic Right Whale Calf of the Season Spotted off Georgia Coast

Animals
A North Atlantic right whale was spotted with her calf in a first of the season event. NOAA permit # 20556-01 / Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Good news whale lovers!


The first critically endangered North Atlantic right whale calf of the season has been spotted off the coast of Georgia, a Daytona Beach News-Journal story published by USA Today reported Wednesday.

The mother and her calf were first spotted by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's aerial survey teams on Monday, Dec. 16, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spokeswoman Allison Garrett told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

"The mother is a known animal to biologists and this is believed to be her first calf!" the aquarium tweeted.

The sighting of North Atlantic right whale calves is such a big deal because they are an extremely endangered species of whale. There are currently only 409 left, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium estimates, and that number has fallen from more than 450 in 2016.

"North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble," NOAA Fisheries right whale biologist Barb Zoodsma said in a press release. "We have lost 30 right whales in U.S. and Canadian waters since 2017. The number of right whale deaths is unsustainable for a population of a little more than 400 animals, particularly because we estimate that there are only about 100 breeding females who are producing fewer calves each year."

Every winter, the whales migrate more than 1,000 miles down the East Coast of North America from Canada and New England to South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The waters off the Southern U.S. are the only place where they are known to calve.

"These southern waters are where right whales give birth and nurse their young. This is a vulnerable phase for right whales, making it extremely important for people to be aware of the whales' movement and migratory patterns," Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wildlife biologist Tom Pitchford told NOAA.

In 2017-2018, not a single right whale birth was recorded, according to The Associated Press. The situation improved somewhat in 2018-2019, when seven births were recorded. But this couldn't make up for the fact that 10 whales were discovered dead in 2019, three after being struck by ships and one after getting tangled in fishing equipment. Many of the dead whales were breeding females, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.

The latest calf was spotted off Sapelo Island, which is around 50 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, The Associated Press reported. The mother was identified as #3560 in the New England Aquarium Right Whale catalog, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. She was born in 2005.

Right whales can grow to be more than 50 feet long and weigh 70 tons. They are most threatened by collisions with ships, being caught in fishing gear and changes to their feeding areas as oceans warm because of the climate crisis.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Daniel Yetman

Bleach and vinegar are common household cleaners used to disinfect surfaces, cut through grime, and get rid of stains. Even though many people have both these cleaners in their homes, mixing them together is potentially dangerous and should be avoided.

Read More Show Less
During a protest action on May 30 in North Rhine-Westphalia, Datteln in front of the site of the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant, Greenpeace activists projected the lettering: "Climate crisis - Made in Germany" onto the cooling tower. Guido Kirchner / picture alliance / Getty Images

Around 500 climate activists on Saturday gathered outside the new Datteln 4 coal power plant in Germany's Ruhr region, to protest against its opening.

Read More Show Less
Dr. Mark Brunswick (2R), Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Quality, walks through the lab at Sorrento Therapeutics in San Diego, California on May 22. ARIANA DREHSLER / AFP / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

Around the world, there have been several cases of people recovering from COVID-19 only to later test positive again and appear to have another infection.

Read More Show Less

By Samantha Hepburn

In the expansion of its iron ore mine in Western Pilbara, Rio Tinto blasted the Juukan Gorge 1 and 2 — Aboriginal rock shelters dating back 46,000 years. These sites had deep historical and cultural significance.

Read More Show Less
Meadow Lake wind farm in Indiana. Anthony / CC BY-ND 2.0

By Tara Lohan

The first official tallies are in: Coronavirus-related shutdowns helped slash daily global emissions of carbon dioxide by 14 percent in April. But the drop won't last, and experts estimate that annual emissions of the greenhouse gas are likely to fall only about 7 percent this year.

Read More Show Less
Andrey Nikitin / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Adrienne Santos-Longhurst

Plants are awesome. They brighten up your space and give you a living thing you can talk to when there are no humans in sight.

Turns out, having enough of the right plants can also add moisture (aka humidify) indoor air, which can have a ton of health benefits.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A bald eagle chick inside a nest in Rutland, Massachusetts. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
A bald eagle nest with eggs has been discovered in Cape Cod for the first time in 115 years, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (Mass Wildlife), as Newsweek reported.
Read More Show Less