Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Seven right whales found dead in 'devastating' blow to endangered animal


Carcasses found off Canada in recent weeks in what may be biggest single die-off of one of world’s most endangered whale species, expert says


Ashifa Kassam in Toronto

Saturday 8 July 2017 11.00 BST Last modified on Saturday 8 July 2017 11.01 BST

Seven North Atlantic right whales have been found floating lifelessly in the Gulf of St Lawrence, off Canada, in recent weeks, in what is being described as a “catastrophic” blow to one of the world’s most endangered whales.

The first whale carcass was reported in early June. Within a month, another six reports came in, leaving marine biologists in the region reeling.

“It’s devastating,” said Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society, a charitable organisation dedicated to marine mammal conservation in the region. “This is, I think, the largest die-off they’ve ever had for this particularly species, at once.”

The global population of North Atlantic right whales – which live along the eastern seaboard of Canada and the US and can reach up to 16 metres in length – is thought to be around 525, meaning that more than 1% of the population has died in the past month. “So it is catastrophic in terms of potential impact to this population.”

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