Rare and Endangered Right Whale and Her Calf Spotted Off the Carolina Coast

A photographer off the coast of North Carolina spotted an endangered North Atlantic right whale and its calf. The video comes from drone footage of the mother and baby whale and is significant because wildlife researchers believe there are only 360 right whales left in the world.

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Here is the footage:

Photographer Eric Vithalani captured the clip near the town of Surf City. He wasn’t sure which animal he initially recorded videos of but said he spoke to someone with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who confirmed the whale is a right whale named “Palmetto.” Vithalani says wildlife researchers track the whale and know this animal is 35-years-old and the calf is her sixth baby. Her two most recent calves, born in 2005 and 2020, are occasionally still spotted in the wild.

Vithalani told local media that he heard from others that the whales were in the area. That’s when he grabbed his drone and headed out the door. He said he was careful to fly high enough above the animals so as not to disturb them.

“I was just in awe of them. Grateful to be able to see them here,” Vithalani told local sources.

The Endangered Right Whale

According to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of the 360 North Atlantic right whales remaining, less than 70 are females that can reproduce. The population is continuing to decline largely due to human impacts. Unfortunately, the animal has seen a drop in new calves, which is a further concern.

Although seeing a right whale is rare, traditionally, the animal can be found from Florida up to Canada. The animal is known for its migration and is usually found off the coast of Canada and New England in the warmer months. During the winter, they’ll head down by the Carolinas and into Georgia and Florida in the summer. 

Source: https://outdoors.com/rare-and-endangered-right-whale-and-her-calf-spotted-off-the-carolina-coast/