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Mon, Feb

Already on Brink, Right Whales Are Pushed Closer to the Edge

Typography

North Atlantic right whales are one of the world’s most critically endangered large whales, but if you’re lucky, you can still see them: a mother nursing her newborn in the warm waters off the Georgia or Florida coast, their only known calving grounds; right whales socializing and feeding in the fertile waters of Cape Cod Bay, sometimes within sight of shore; whales — black, 50 feet long, and weighing some 100,000 pounds — rising through the water in the Bay of Fundy or the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the northern end of their thousand-mile-plus migration route.

North Atlantic right whales are one of the world’s most critically endangered large whales, but if you’re lucky, you can still see them: a mother nursing her newborn in the warm waters off the Georgia or Florida coast, their only known calving grounds; right whales socializing and feeding in the fertile waters of Cape Cod Bay, sometimes within sight of shore; whales — black, 50 feet long, and weighing some 100,000 pounds — rising through the water in the Bay of Fundy or the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the northern end of their thousand-mile-plus migration route.

For a few decades, the math for North Atlantic right whales seemed to be working out, and the whales appeared to be experiencing a tentative recovery. Between 1990 and 2010, their numbers inched up from 270 to 483 whales — a slow growth rate, only 2.8 percent per year, but growth nonetheless.

Read more at Yale Environment 360

Image Credit: Northeast Fisheries Science Center - NOAA