A banner winter for right whale calves

North Atlantic right whales produced more offspring last winter than any year since 2015. That’s good news for researchers who became particularly concerned three years ago when they recorded no offspring at all.

Between December and March, survey teams spotted 17 newborn right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) calves between Florida and North Carolina. One was struck by a boat and was killed a short time later. Researchers believe the endangered species’ population is 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,” Clay George, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, told the Associated Press. “They need to be producing about two dozen calves per year for the population to stabilize and continue to grow again.”

Read more from the Associated Press.

Header Image: A North Atlantic right whale and its 2-week-old calf swim off the coast of Amelia Island.
Credit: Georgia DNR under NOAA Research Permit 20556-01