First Right Whale Fatality of 2018 Reported Off Virginia

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Federal officials are investigating the death of a North Atlantic Right Whale off the coast of the mid-Atlantic earlier this week.

The animal was reported dead on Monday off of Virginia and North Carolina. A response team from the Virginia Aquarium was notified of the deceased whale two days later.

The whale was wrapped in line and appears to have been entangled. Officials with NOAA fisheries believe the animal was alive and swimming when it got trapped in the line.

Officials are hoping to tow the carcass to shore eventually to study it and try to determine a cause of death. The sex of the whale has not been identified at this point.

This is the first reported fatality in 2018, after 17 of the animals were found dead in 2017.

A large portion of the entire global right whale population comes to Cape Cod Bay every winter to feed.

The worldwide population is believed to be under 450, making right whales the most endangered marine mammal in the world.

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