Thursday, May 05, 2011

{Press} New Right whale calf spotted in R.I. Sound

Cape Cod Times | Mary Ann Bragg | April 30, 2011

"WOODS HOLE — Whale experts have identified a new North Atlantic right whale calf in Rhode Island Sound during a season of record sightings of the endangered marine mammals in New England waters.

The new calf was first spotted April 7 off Rhode Island, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. During a second aerial survey in recent days, researchers confirmed the birth with a second sighting of the mother and new calf.

So far, researchers have counted 20 new calves for this year's calving season, plus the one seen off Rhode Island.

"With such a small population, the birth of each new calf is one more step on the path to recovery," said Christin Khan, a member of the Woods Hole-based federal survey team.

Twenty calves are slightly above average for a season, Clay George, a biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, told The Associated Press in late March. In 2010, 19 right whale calves were reported off the U.S. coast, the AP reported.

North Atlantic right whales calve in the warm, shallow waters off Georgia and Florida, then move northward to feed throughout the spring and summer.

The North Atlantic right whale population totals about 450 animals, according to the New England Aquarium in Boston."

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