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Wildlife Featured in this article
- North Atlantic right whales
- humpback whale
- minke whale
What’s causing the East Coast whale die-off
Nearly two dozen whales have washed up dead on eastern U.S. shores since December
Some 23 whales have washed up on the coast of the eastern United States since December due to a variety of factors. North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), considered endangered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) also endangered, and even a minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) have been found on beaches from New York state to Virginia. Most of the dead whales have been humpbacks, with ship strikes likely being the cause of most of the deaths. Changing shipping routes and methods in the sea due to a shifting consumer market related to the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to the increased death rate.