Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Corpse Of Right Whale Calf Injured In January Found On Beach


The corpse of a North Atlantic Right Whale calf was found this week off the coast of the US state of Georgia.

The carcass was identified by NOAA as being the calf of Juno, the first documented right whale mom of the season.

The calf had previously been spotted in January with injuries to its head, mouth and lips from a boat’s propeller.

According to NOAA:

“The carcass was heavily scavenged by sharks. Responders identified it as Juno’s calf based on the unique injuries and markings documented when the calf was alive. Due to the state of the carcass, we will use genetic testing to determine the sex.”

Although it was a smaller boat that killed this whale, a previous analysis by ocean advocacy organization Oceana found nearly 80% of ships subject to mandatory speed limits (65 feet/20 meters and over) violated these limits during the period Juno’s calf was struck. Oceana says an updated vessel speed rule covering smaller boats and increased enforcement are both necessary to save North Atlantic right whales.

Hermina Glass-Hill, the organization’s senior field representative in Georgia, said:

“Just weeks ago, we were on Tybee Island mourning the loss of a juvenile North Atlantic right whale that was killed by a boat strike, and here we are again with another preventable tragedy on Georgia’s shores. When will this heartbreaking cycle of death end? Juno’s newborn calf offered hope for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales to recover, and because of the human-caused threats they face, that chance is gone. In the first few weeks of its short life, this calf’s face was sliced open by a boat propeller, causing painful and prolonged suffering which sadly resulted in its death. Our government already knows what to do to protect these critically endangered whales, so why are they sitting on it? Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and President Biden need to immediately release the updated vessel speed rule their own agency proposed nearly two years ago. Until they do, this right whale’s death, and the future ones to come, are on their watch.”

John Liang
John Lianghttps://www.deeperblue.com/
John Liang is the News Editor at DeeperBlue.com. He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.