Only 12 total North Atlantic right whale births were observed in the three calving seasons between 2017-2019, less than one-third the previous average annual birth rate for right whales.
This season, we've already spotted 10 new calves as of February 12. The tenth North Atlantic right whale calf of the season was spotted off South Carolina on February 10. Mom is 31 year old "Palmetto," (#1970) and this is her fifth calf. Palmetto last gave birth in 2009. Three new calves were sighted off the coasts of Florida and Georgia on February 3.
Check out photos of the mother/calf pairs and learn more about them:
Credit: CMA, FWC, GADNR. All research and photos done under permit NOAA permit 20556-01.
Check out the New England Aquarium North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog to see all the right whales cataloged over the years.
Update on North Atlantic Right Whale Calf Struck by Vessel
Thanks to all who have reached out via social media about "Derecha" and her injured calf. Unfortunately we have not seen the pair since January 15. We will be sure to post an update here and @NOAAFish_SERO if we get any new information on the mom/calf. Learn more about the calf
In the meantime we ask anyone with information regarding the calf's injuries and additional sightings to contact (877) WHALE-HELP (877-942-5343).
NOAA urges everyone to please give these animals their space. Mom/calf pairs spend the majority of their time at, or a few feet below the water's surface in the Southeast U.S. This is a critical and vulnerable time for right whale moms to bond with their calves. Law requires staying away at least 500 yards by air (including drones) and by sea.
The protection of these animals is in the hands of all mariners on the water and all businesses that service those vessels. Stay educated, remain alert, and slow down while traveling through areas where right whales are found.