It might not quite be a baby boom, but scientists are encouraged by the number of North Atlantic right whales that have been born over the winter. Survey teams spotted 17 newborn calves of the critically endangered species swimming with their mothers between Florida and North Carolina from December to March.
Now 17 isn’t many, but it is the combined total for the previous three years and it’s all an improvement over 2018, when scientists saw no births for the first time in three decades. While things are looking up, researchers say greater numbers are needed as the population of North Atlantic right whales is only about 360.
“What we are seeing is what we hope will be the beginning of an upward climb in calving that’s going to continue for the next few years,” explains Clay George, who oversees right whale surveys for the Georgia state government. “They need to be producing about two dozen calves per year for the population to stabilize and continue to grow.”
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