BOURNE, Mass. — The Army Corps of Engineers shut down the Cape Cod Canal for about four hours after two endangered North Atlantic right wales were spotted in the waterway.
A spokesman for the Corps told the Cape Cod Times the whales were spotted at about 9 a.m. on Monday.
Two government ships watched the whales, which were last seen heading east in a strong current near the Sagamore Bridge, most likely exiting into Cape Cod Bay. The canal was reopened at 1 p.m.
Right whales are federally protected. It is thought there are only about 500 of them left in the world and ship strikes are one of the biggest causes of death.
About 20,000 vessels per year pass through the 14-mile canal.