TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two new mother and calf pairs of North Atlantic right whales were recently spotted during this year’s calving season, according to The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI).
That brings the total number of newborn calves so far this winter to four, according to FWRI. Both pairs were sighted off northern Georgia.
Another one-year-old calf was spotted by beachgoers off Crescent Beach on Sunday. FWRI said the juvenile whale was recently weaned and separated from its mother.
It’s good news for the endangered species, as research estimated the right whale population only totaled 340 animals (plus or minus seven) in 2021.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the coastal waters off Florida and Georgia are the only known calving areas for the North Atlantic right whale. The waters have been designated as right whale critical habitat by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.
Right whale sightings should be reported to 1-877-WHALE-HELP (877-942-5343) or to the USCG on VHF Ch. 16.