7 right whale calves spotted in Florida’s Atlantic waters

A North Atlantic right whale swimming in Cape Cod Bay, near Duxbury, Mass., in 2015.
A North Atlantic right whale swimming in Cape Cod Bay, near Duxbury, Mass., in 2015. –David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Seven rare right whale calves have been spotted so far this winter off Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Researchers say each new calf spotted this year is an encouraging sign for the critically endangered whales. No newborns were spotted during the last calving season, and just five calves were counted during the previous year.

But Katie Jackson of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission tells The Daytona Beach News-Journal that seven calves “still isn’t enough.” The wildlife biologist says right whales need to deliver 16 to 18 calves a year just to maintain their current population.

Scientists estimate only about 450 North Atlantic right whales remain.

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Right whales typically migrate from the North Atlantic to give birth off the coasts of Georgia and Florida from December through March.

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