Tuesday, April 05, 2011

{Press} Five Northern Right Whales Killed Since January

WDCS International

When you deal with a critically endangered species, you count individual losses like petals on a crocus. Intact, a crocus is a gorgeous and vibrant flower but even one missing petal is noticeable.

Sadly, the analogy applies to the fate of the entire North Atlantic right whale species. In the past three months, five critically endangered North Atlantic right whales have died and an additional right whale was seriously injured by a vessel strike. Three of those lost were females, the most important segment of the population. Perhaps the most tragic is the most recent loss that we learned of this week, that of a newborn calf. Only months old, the fate of this calf was sealed when its mother was killed by a ship strike.

The National Marine Fisheries Service says that, for the population to recover, no more than one or two right whales can accidentally die each year. We’ve already more than doubled that figure in three months. Next week I will be attending the meeting of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team where WDCS is a federally appointed Conservation Representative. Meetings are never glamorous, nor fun, but the fate of an entire species is at stake, and I will be there advocating on behalf of all right whales.

My sincerest thanks to Patagonia who provided us support for our right whale work, and for all of our supporters who add their collective voices to help save this species. We may not be able to replace the petals once they are lost, but somehow, we will save this flower.

Regina Asmutis-Silvia
Senior Biologist, WDCS

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