Endangered Right Whale Having Bad Year for Accidental Deaths 

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: A carcass of a North Atlantic right whale was recently found off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Marine conservation groups say a high number of accidental deaths this year among the endangered North Atlantic right whales could challenge the species’ ability to recover in the future.

The right whales are among the most imperiled marine mammals on Earth. There are thought to be no more than 500 of the giant marine mammals left in the wild.

Biologist Regina Asmutis-Silvia says 12 of the whales are known to have died since April, meaning about 2 percent of the population has perished in just a few months.

Asmutis-Silvia and other conservationists say the deaths are evidence that regulations to prevent ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear need to be strengthened in the United States and Canada.

Marine regulators in both countries say efforts to protect whales are ongoing.

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