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By Monica Medina and Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer
Last weekend a sportfishing boat off the coast of St. Augustine, Florida struck and killed a one-month-old North Atlantic Right Whale calf, according to Florida news outlets. The fishing boat reported the strike after it had to run ground to avoid sinking – the five people aboard were unharmed. The calf washed up on the beach in a state park the following day, with injuries caused by the propeller. On Tuesday, local officials spotted the calf’s mother, a whale named Infinity, and she also had injuries consistent with a vessel strike. The mother and calf had been spotted on numerous occasions in the calving grounds off north Florida since mid-January.
Keeping the North Atlantic right whale from going extinct will be a difficult task. Ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear such as lobster trap lines, as we have reported, are the most common causes of death for these whales. However, efforts to mitigate fishing in areas populated by whales have incited protests from fishing communities who see these policies as attacks on their livelihoods.Moreover, climate change has put this species in further danger. As waters warm, it may be difficult for whales to find food, so they have to enter new places which may house unforeseen dangers.
Right Whale Calf Sighting Sparks Hope
Divers off the coast of el Hierro — an island in the Canary Islands — found a four-meter whale past swimming past their boat. This whale was a North Atlantic right whale, one of the world’s most endangered whales. The calf seemed to be alone, and was thousands of miles away from its normal habitat in the east coast of Canada and the U.S. The North Atlantic right whale was considered extinct in their natural habitat for about 100 years, so this sighting is a big deal. It could suggest that the species may be repopulating, making its home on the European and African side on the Atlantic. This sighting is a sign of hope that this species may come back from the brink.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Almost 1,000 of Florida’s manatees have died as of Oct.1 this year, setting a tragic record for the most deaths in a year, with two months left to go. Deaths were largely caused by starvation — the predator-less sea cows typically spend hours a day eating seagrass, but declining […]
Do you have a good eye? Are you surprisingly good at Where’s Waldo and like Walruses? If so, we have great opportunity for you! The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is seeking volunteers to help count Atlantic walruses…from space. Sea ice is retreating fast as global temperatures rise, forcing walruses to crowd on smaller floes […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
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