Jul 142017
 


North Atlantic right whales are now one of the most endangered whales on earth, and a string of recent deaths has raised questions about their future survival.

Once known as the “right” whale to kill because their slow movements and time spent at the surface made them easy targets, right whales were nearly decimated by whalers.

Despite an end to commercial whaling and further efforts to save them from extinction, they’ve yet to fully recover. Today, there are only estimated to be 350 individuals left in the Northwest Atlantic, while their global population is only estimated to be around 500, making each life incredibly precious.

Southern Right whale and her baby at De Hoop – Photo credit to Peter Chadwick

They now typically spend their winters in the South before migrating North for the summer in the waters off New England and the Bay of Fundy, where they feed and nurse their calves.

Sadly, over the past few weeks, the bodies of six of these otherwise seemingly healthy whales were found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence – an area where they’re afforded less protection because they haven’t been sighted there as often until recent years.

Following the discoveries, scientists quickly launched an effort to figure out what happened to them and finally announced some of their findings.

Although the final results of the necropsies performed won’t be available for a few weeks, they found so far that two males had suffered from blunt traumas that caused bruising and internal bleeding, which was likely from being hit by a ship, while the third, a female, had suffered from entanglement in fishing gear.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, only three of the bodies were fully examined because of the advanced state of decomposition of the others.

Even more concerning is that this week yet another right whale was found entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Fortunately rescuers were able to save her.

Pierre-Yves Daoust of the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, who led the necropsies, said a lack of a conclusive cause of death shouldn’t stop officials from working to prevent more deaths.

“We cannot wait to have another half dozen right whales killed either this summer or next summer before we start addressing this potential cause of mortality,” he told Global News.

His sentiments were echoed by others involved who believe the deaths should serve as a call to action to do more to prevent ship strike and entanglements, and learn more about where these whales are spending time now to limit activities that could harm them.

Hopefully swift action will be taken to help ensure these whales don’t move any closer to extinction.

This article was first published by Care2.com on 06 Jul 2017.

 

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

 

 

Share this post with your friends





Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
wpDiscuz

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. POLL: Should the tradition of throwing wild turkeys from a plane be allowed? – [1938 Views]
  2. POLL: Should the Rare Spirit Bear Be Protected From Hunters? – [1652 Views]
  3. POLL: Should Arizona’s wild cats be protected from trophy hunters? – [1315 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the use of bears as living tourist attractions be banned? – [1205 Views]
  5. POLL: Should Dolphinariums As Tourist Attractions Be Closed Down? – [1073 Views]
  6. POLL: Should animal traps in our National Wildlife Refuges be banned? – [1067 Views]
  7. POLL: Should Orcas and Dolphins be freed from all Seaquariums? – [1033 Views]
  8. POLL: Should the Alaska Refuge be opened up for drilling? – [992 Views]
  9. POLL: Should Trump’s elephant trophy hunting plan be stopped? – [924 Views]
  10. POLL: Should performing elephants in circuses be banned? – [794 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7645 Views]
  2. Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts [6544 Views]
  3. POLL: Should foxes be culled to protect domestic pets? [3799 Views]
  4. POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [3788 Views]
  5. POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [3605 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3057 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
  8. POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
  10. POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]