HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Horrifying step towards e...

Thu Aug 1, 2019, 06:40 PM

Horrifying step towards extinction: 2% of worlds North Atlantic right whales died in past 2 months

Two percent of the world’s North Atlantic right whales have died in the last two months

A Canadian surveillance plane was scanning the waters of Gulf of St. Lawrence when it made a grisly discovery: The carcass of a North Atlantic right whale, one of some 400 remaining in the world, was drifting in the current, much of its skin sloughed off.

From there, the news would only get worse. The next day, another dead right whale was spotted in the same body of water. And an 18-year-old right whale was entangled in fishing gear near Quebec, with a rope cutting into its head and over its blowhole.

It’s been a devastating summer for the endangered marine mammal. Since the start of June, eight North Atlantic right whales — or 2 percent of the global population — have been found dead in Canadian waters, alarming scientists, conservationists and government officials who had believed they had begun to make progress in protecting the imperiled species.

“It’s a horrifying step toward extinction,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, the executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation USA. “They’re a quiet, understated superhero, and we’re losing them.”

Necropsy results are still pending for most of the whales, but preliminary findings for three of them suggest ship strikes.

Particularly troubling about this year’s deaths is that four of the whales were breeding females, of which fewer than 100 remain. Calving rates have dropped 40 percent since 2010, according to scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, making the deaths of the females a major blow.

“This is currently very clearly not sustainable,” said Philip Hamilton, a research scientist at the New England Aquarium in Boston. “At this rate, in 20 years, we’re going to have no more breeding females, and the population will be effectively extinct.”


0 replies, 247 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread