February 24, 2020
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3rd right whale birth gives conservationists hope

Michael Dwyer | AP
Michael Dwyer | AP
In this March 28, 2018, file photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

A third right whale calf has been spotted off the southeastern United States, giving conservationists hope for the jeopardized species this winter.

North Atlantic right whales number only about 411, and have been plagued by high mortality and poor reproduction in recent years. Not a single baby right whale was born in the winter of 2017-2018.

Several of the calves were spotted last year, and there have been at least three more recently. The New England Aquarium in Boston said Sunday that Harmonia, an adult right whale known to researchers, has been seen recently off Cumberland Island, Georgia, with a newborn.

The right whales are often seen close to the New England coast in the spring, when they head north to feed. They were hunted close to extinction during the whaling era because they floated when killed and yielded lots of oil — making them the “right” whale to hunt.

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