The fourth North Atlantic right whale calf born this season has already been severely wounded. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced Thursday morning that the calf had two “parallel and s-shaped” injuries along its body, consistent with wounds caused by boat propellers. Experts believe the calf was born in the last few days and the wounds are only hours old. The calf’s mother, known as Derecha, has only given birth four times, the last time in 2010. The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered whale species, with fewer than 400 alive today.
Jane Davenport, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:
“North Atlantic right whales no longer live to old age: entanglements and ship strikes have slashed this creature’s life expectancy from 70 years to 30. This tragic–and preventable—event shows that even living a few days is a struggle. Now more than ever, the right whale desperately needs the federal funding that the SAVE Right Whales Act would provide to invest in technologies to save right whales from these grievous injuries.”