Baby right whale spotted
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.
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.