Endangered right whales spotted off Florida coast - WFLA News Channel 8

Endangered right whales spotted off Florida coast

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COCOA BEACH, FL (WFLA) - Beachgoers in Florida were in for a treat this week as a mother right whale and her calf were spotted off the southeast coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says calving occurs this time of year, between December to March, in the waters off Georgia and Florida.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, right whales are one of the most endangered large whales in the world.

Swimmers were able to get a glance of the mother and calf off Cocoa Beach on Tuesday. The FWC says this sighting is one of only ten right whales born this year.

The FWC would like to remind people that it's important to give whales their space. Especially right whales. Under federal law, it is illegal to come within 500 yards of this species, whether you are swimming or on a boat. Violating this rule could mean criminal penalties or fines up to $100,000. Anyone that sees a right whale is asked to call 1-888-97-WHALE.

Here are some tips for whale viewing:

- Do not disrupt whale behavior. Interacting with them should not be attempted, especially around calving season when any disturbance could affect calving, nursing, or the survival of the young whales.
- NOAA recommends staying at least 100 yards from any large whale, 500 yards from right whales.
- Use binoculars for better viewing of the animals
- Avoid circling or entrapping whales between watercraft, or watercraft and shore.
- Avoid quick movements or loud noises when around whales
- Do not touch or swim with the whales even if they approach you
- Move away cautiously if a whale approaches. A calf might wander from its mother and approach a boat if curious.

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