Endangered whale experiencing mini-baby boom in New England waters

Elias Hubbard
April 15, 2019

Several new mother-calf pairs have already been spotted this year alone.

Scientists reportedly did not spot any right whale newborns in 2018, so researchers were elated to report the sighting of two pairs of right whales in Cape Cod bay this week.

But the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown, Massachusetts, said on Friday its aerial survey team had spotted two mother and calf pairs in Cape Cod Bay a day earlier.

While the numbers do not seem to be a lot, seeing new calves in the population is very important to the species because their numbers have been falling dangerously low. In all, seven right whale calves have been seen so far this year.

This sighting heralds the arrival of the 2019 calves to their feeding grounds in the northeast.

The whales give birth off Georgia and Florida in the winter before moving up the USA east coast in the spring.

EgNo 4180 and her calf were sighted in the southern portion of the bay.

Then, she was seen outside of Cape Cod Bay in 2017 and a year ago when she was again pregnant, the statement said. She has been seen off the Cape every year since 2010 with the exception of 2015, according to the statement.

CCS also spotted the right whale known as EgNo 3317 with her calf on April 11. After years of increasingly bad news, there's a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered North Atlantic right whale.

The peduncle is the point where the tail joins the whale's body. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports there are likely fewer than 200 left.

One of the greatest threats to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale is entanglement in fishing lines.

Unfortunately, it appears that EgNo 4180 has had some accidents since she was last seen, as she was observed to now have new entanglement wounds. The whales are among the rarest in the world.

It's illegal to get within 1,500ft of the animals without a federal research permit, so boaters are discouraged from attempting to get close to the whales.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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