Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

3 Newborn Endangered Right Whales Inspire Hope for Species

Oceans
3 Newborn Endangered Right Whales Inspire Hope for Species
Right whale Catalog #2791 and her calf sighted 10 nautical miles off Fernandina Beach, Florida January 6. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Whale watchers and researchers are rejoicing after a third North Atlantic right whale calf was documented this winter, especially after the previous calving season resulted in no confirmed births.

A whale mother known as 1204 and the newborn were seen off Florida's northeast coast last week.


A young right whale calf and its mother, 1204, sighted approximately 3 nautical miles off Amelia Island, Florida on Jan. 17.Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA permit 20556-01

The first baby whale was spotted in December in the waters between Florida and Georgia, and the second one was seen earlier this month, CBC reported.

The whales' calving season usually starts in December and peaks in January and February.

"Every calf is exciting," Philip Hamilton, research scientist at the Anderson Cabot Centre for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, told the news service. "This population has been struggling to recover for a long time and in recent years has been hit by increased injury and death. The births are our hope."

Right Whale 2791 with Two Week Old Calf on January 7, 2019 -- NOAA Research Permit 20556-01 www.youtube.com

North Atlantic right whales are one of the world's most endangered large whale species. Only 411 are believed to remain on the planet, according to the latest estimates.

An "unusual" number of right whales died in recent years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2017, a total of 17 whales stranded in Canada and the U.S. Last year, three whales stranded in the U.S. Their greatest threats are entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes.

The three births are great news for the species since no calves were born last winter and only five (pdf) were born in 2017. To compare, an average of 17 calves a year were born from 1990 to 2014.

Still, Hamilton cautioned about being overly optimistic. "It's a pause in the bad news," Hamilton told The New York Times. "We don't know how long the pause will be."

The Center for Biological Diversity worries that right whales are declining so quickly that they could be functionally extinct by 2040 if we don't do more to save them. Climate change is making matters worse for the gentle giants, as warming waters have shifted their prey into higher risk habitats.

Then there's another possible threat. In April, President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at expanding offshore oil drilling and exploration. Seismic airgun blasting, which is used to find oil and gas beneath the ocean floor, has been proposed within the same main range of North Atlantic right whales.

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch