Right Whales Return to Cape Cod Bay

Right whale flukes. CCS image, NOAA permit #19315-1

PROVINCETOWN – The North Atlantic Right Whales have returned to local waters.

Researchers from the Provincetown-based Center for Coastal Studies report they spotted 14 of the animals in Cape Cod Bay on Tuesday. The whales feed off the coast of Cape Cod every winter.

“This is a terrific start to the season,” said Charles “Stormy” Mayo, the Director of the Center’s Right Whale Ecology program. “Last year we identified 251 individuals in the Bay between December and May, so we’re excited to see how this progresses.”

This marks a strong start to the season, according to researchers. In years past, only a handful of whales have been spotted during the first aerial surveillance flight.

2017 was a deadly year for the endangered species. 17 right whales were found dead in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and off the coast of Cape Cod. To make matters worse, only five new calves were reported.

Scientists are worried the species may become extinct by 2050 if these trends continue.

Researchers estimate there are 434 right whales left in existence.

U.S. and Canadian officials have been meeting in recent months to work on ways to better manage and protecting the remaining population.

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