SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) _ The winter calving season for critically endangered right whales is ending along the southeast U.S. seacoast and scientists are bracing for what would be the worst season in three decades _ with no newborns spotted since December.
Survey flights over the Georgia and Florida coasts haven’t turned up any mother-and-calf pairs in four months. Those surveys are to wrap up when the month ends Saturday.
Researchers have recorded between one and 39 births each year since 1989. A zero-birth year would come at a terrible time. A total of 17 right whales washed up dead in the U.S. and Canada last year, far outpacing five births.
Philip Hamilton is a right whale researcher at the New England Aquarium in Boston. He calls the dismal calving season “truly alarming.”