Concerned scientists are sounding the alarm over the loss of six uncommon North Atlantic right whales off the Canadian sea-coast in a single month. There are only some 400 of the swine left on Earth, and fewer than 100 of them are females of reproductive age.
The six, including at least four females, were located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence north of New England, reported officials with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Researchers guess at least three of them were killed in collisions with carries. One of them was the mother of eight, grandmother of two and 40 years old when she was found dead from board ships strike.
The whales also die — often excruciating demises — when they become entangled in fishing gear.
“Honestly, I don’t have the words, ” Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation North America, told The Atlantic in an section wrote last week. “It’s devastating. There’s now more people working on right whales than there are right whales left.”
The deaths are such a significant toll on the population that researchers fear it will soon be too late to prevent extinction.
The population has been hard hit in the last few years. The swine appear to be leaving places like Cape Cod following meat sources moving north because of warming oceans. As they follow the meat, they move into increasingly army carrying regions or the regions with fewer carrying limiteds to protect children. Seventeen swine were killed during 2017 and only five calves were born.
“Animals like whales that have to figure out where their food is, they have to figure out a new environment as they go, ” Nick Record, senior experiment scientist at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Discipline in Maine, told the Independent. “You can almost think of the whales like climate migration.”
Ten years ago the U.S. implemented a 10 -knot speed restriction on carries in areas where the whales were spotted. Canada is now beginning to expand and strengthen similar limiteds in the St. Lawrence Gulf in the wake of the deaths.
“The government of Canada takes the protection, preservation, and convalescence of endangered species very seriously, ” the Canadian government said in a statement from last-place month.
Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told the Canadian Press Thursday that officials are still considering other measures. “We are going to have to be dynamic in terms of evolving measures to ensure that we are appropriately putting in a home a precautionary approach to protect these endangered whales, ” he said.
Chris Oliver, aide executive for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, called the situation an “urgent conservation crisis” that has reached a “critical point.”
He is calling for a has met with the Canadian government to request “immediate action to provide comprehensive protection” for the whales. “Preventing any additional deaths of North Atlantic right whales is our highest priority, ” he said.
The whales got their name because they were long considered the “right” whales to hunt, so its own population was ravaged. Despite defences over the years, the population never fully rebounded.