Apr 25, 2017 | Updated: 06:14 PM EDT

Experts Almost Certain Ship Collision Caused Death Of Endangered Right Whale

Apr 19, 2017 06:19 AM EDT

FEMALE RIGHT WHALE WAS FOUND DEAD IN CAPE COD BAY, SUSPECTED TO BE A VICTIM OF SHIP COLLISION
(Photo : Getty Images/Staff) The right whale is an endangered species and even one death may sound the death knell for the whole species and take it to the brink of extinction.

The habitat of North Atlantic right whale extends from Nova Scotia to Georgia. To the delight of whale conservationists, it was only in the second week of April 2017 that a total of 206 right whales with their four calves were sighted making their way in the Cape Code Bay region.

The news of a one-year-old and 27-foot-long female right whale found floating lifeless in the same Bay area, just a few days after the sighting of the school, came as a rude shock to whale conservationists. The cause of death is being investigated, but the final analysis may take a bit longer.

According to Phys.Org, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is tasked with keeping a watch for the right whales. On hearing this news, NOAA officials swung into action and towed the dead whale to a harbor from where it was placed on a flatbed for transport.

The preliminary investigation conducted into the death of the whale indicates blunt trauma and the bruises sustained are consistent with a ship strike. Even a loss of one such gentle creature is serious matter for this endangered species.

If the statistics of WWF Global is any indication, only about 350 right whales survive in the world today. The whales are susceptible to ship collisions due to their tendency of swimming just below the water's surface, making it difficult for ships to spot them and steer clear.

This death is no one-off incident, in the past too these gentle giants, weighing thousands of kilos, keep getting entangled in fishing gear and colliding with ships. It is not only accidents that take a toll, but human exploitation too, despite the whale being on the protected species list since 1930.

Even a single death of the right whale becomes a cause for concern, more so, since this species has not shown any significant population growth in the last seven decades. Unless the governments and whale conservationists take firm steps to ensure such accidents don't happen, its extinction may soon become a reality.

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