Baby right whale spot­ted

Antelope Valley Press - - VALLEY LIFE -

SA­VAN­NAH, Ga. (AP) — A new­born right whale spot­ted off the coast of Ge­or­gia was suf­fer­ing from deep cuts on ei­ther side of its head, dis­may­ing con­ser­va­tion­ists who closely mon­i­tor the South­east U.S. coast dur­ing win­ter for births among the crit­i­cally en­dan­gered species.

The S-shaped gashes, roughly 2 feet apart, were likely in­flicted by the pro­pel­ler of a fish­ing boat or sim­i­lar ves­sel, said Barb Zoodsma, who over­sees the right whale re­cov­ery pro­gram in the U.S. South­east for the Na­tional Marine Fish­eries Ser­vice.

She said Thurs­day hu­mans may be help­less to do any­thing to treat the in­jured calf.

“If this was a hu­man baby, this calf would be in the NICU right now,” Zoodsma said, re­fer­ring to a hos­pi­tal’s in­ten­sive care unit for ba­bies. “... And it’s highly un­likely that we can fix this an­i­mal.”

Sci­en­tists es­ti­mate only about 450 North At­lantic right whales sur­vive. Each win­ter, fe­male right whales mi­grate south to the shal­low, warmer At­lantic wa­ters.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An in­jured right whale calf swims along­side its mother Wed­nes­day about eight miles off the coast of Ge­or­gia. Con­ser­va­tion­ists say the new­born right whale was suf­fer­ing from deep cuts on ei­ther side of its head.

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