Right whale calf, mother spotted off Florida coast.
Florida conservationists have reported a sighting of a right whale calf off the Atlantic coast.
In a Facebook post, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said it was the first calf sighting of the critically endangered whale’s winter calving season.
Wildlife officials said the calf and its mother were spotted on Friday offshore near the mouth of the St Johns river. The commission said the mother was spotted five days ago off the Georgia coast.
Right whales typically migrate from the North Atlantic to give birth off the coasts of Georgia and Florida from December through March.
Scientists estimate only about 450 North Atlantic right whales remain. No newborns were reported during the last calving season, and just five calves were counted during the previous year.
There is bad news for other cetaceans found off Florida, though. More than a dozen dolphin deaths in the area have been linked to a toxic algae bloom that has persisted in the Gulf of Mexico for more than a year.
The News-Press reported that roughly 130 dolphin deaths have been counted in south-west Florida this year but only 16 produced definitive necropsy results. A government scientist said all 16 pointed to red tide poisoning as the cause of death.