SCIENTISTS ALARMED BY WHALE DEATHS
Marine scientists are alarmed by the deaths of six endangered North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters during the past three weeks and say humans must help protect them.
North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered large mammals on Earth, with only about 500 still alive. Mark Baumgartner, an associate scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod, said Friday the deaths are a “mortality disaster.”
The loss of so many right whales so quickly was probably last seen when whaling decimated their population during the 19th century, Baumgartner said. He said humans need to do more to protect the animals. One of the six whales was entangled in snow crab fishing gear.
Scientists with Woods Hole and the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston emphasized that so many deaths in such a short time period can jeopardize the population of an animal that is so rare.