Friday, March 14, 2014

{update} North Atlantic Right Whale Calving

So, you ask? 10? Really only 10 new North Atlantic right whale calves in the entire species this year?

Well... yes.

We can continue to hope that another few may be born a little late in the season but so far there have only been 10 new calves documented by the aerial survey teams in the Southeastern United States breeding grounds.  These aerial survey teams run by Sea to Shore, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Florida Fish and Wildlife do very thorough surveys of the breeding habitat from Florida to South Carolina, so they have likely witnessed most of the new calves.  To give you some perspective of how the number '10' compares against recent years, check out this graph:

Although 10 is a low number, it may not be as low as you would think when you place it in the historical context.  Keep in mind that there are only around 500 individuals in this entire species! That is why our conservation efforts to reduce anthropogenic mortality are so critical.  What does 'anthropogenic mortality' mean? Anthropogenic means that it was caused by humans and mortality means that they were killed.  Since right whales are no longer hunted, the main sources of anthropogenic mortality are entanglement in fishing gear and ship strike.

Write to Congress and tell them that saving the right whale matters to you!

1 comment:

bj said...

is the funding for the teams that do the surveying the same as in past years? Or to put it another way, have they been able to conduct as much surveying as in the past?