FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – A team of marine mammal experts found a female North Atlantic right whale and her injured calf off Fernandina Beach on Thursday.
Efforts to monitor and assess the calf began on Jan. 13.
The calf is approximately 2 weeks old and suffered significant wounds consistent with a boat strike.
SeaWorld said the injuries are “concerning” due to their severity and location.
One of the injuries appears to include damage to the whale’s mouth, which could hamper its ability to nurse and feed.
According to SeaWorld, after air support confirmed and assessed the whales, on-site veterinarians determined antibiotics would help the injured whale.
The team was able to administer the medication, hoping to stave off infection.
Biologists will continue to monitor the calf during routine aerial surveys.
SeaWorld confirms the calf’s prognosis remains poor.
The injured calf is just one of four born this calving season to a whale population believed to be less than 430. SeaWorld said that is a “critically low number to sustain the species, making the survival of every whale imperative.”
Field teams from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, the Wildlife Resources Division – Georgia DNR, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, SeaWorld, Blue World Research Institute and the International Fund for Animal Welfare assisted in the operation.
Anyone with information regarding the calf’s injuries and additional sightings should contact 1-877-WHALE-HELP.
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