New England Aquarium Adds Eight-Hundredth Right Whale To Its Database

Catalog #5193, seen swimming off the coast of Nantucket. Photo Credit: New England Aquarium, taken under NOAA permit #25739

BOSTON – The New England Aquarium is celebrating a significant milestone as members of its Right Whale Catalogue team added the eight-hundredth right whale to its database.

The whale, an unnamed 3-year-old female designated as Catalogue #5193, was sighted alongside her mother off the coast of North Carolina in 2021.

Using photos gathered by scientists, researchers, fishermen, and more, researchers with the Aquarium sort each young whale by carefully analyzing their unique callosity patterns.

Due to the time it takes for their markings to settle, whales are often 2 or 3 years old before being officially recognized.

“With such a small population of only around 360 living individuals, every whale counts and each one added to the Catalogue brings some hope. It is particularly exciting that the 800 whale was born to an enigmatic mother who is rarely seen,” said Phillip Hamilton, a senior scientist at the Aquarium. “What will this young whale’s life look like?”

“This is an essential tool in our marine conservation work in the Aquarium,” he said of the database. “We can piece together these whales’ life stories and determine better ways to protect them.”

The announcement comes as Aquarium officials and conservation activists call for heightened measures to protect the species’ dwindling numbers.

The North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog is available to the public and those interested in looking up individual whales can do so by clicking here.

About Matthew Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is a Cape Cod native studying to be a documentarian. He has been with the NewsCenter since 2021.
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