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An Encouraging Sight in the Waters Off Florida

Right whale calf has been spotted
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2018 6:40 AM CST
In this Wednesday, March 28, 2018 file photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

(Newser) – Florida conservationists are reporting a right whale calf sighting off the state's Atlantic coast. In a Facebook post, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said it's the first calf sighting of the critically endangered whale's winter calving season. "The weather outside may be frightful, but endangered species observers ... spotted the first North Atlantic right whale calf of the 2018-2019 season!" reads the post in part. Scientists estimate only about 450 North Atlantic right whales remain. No newborns were reported during the last calving season, and just five calves were counted during the previous year, reports the AP.

Right whales typically migrate from the North Atlantic to give birth off the coasts of Georgia and Florida from December through March. Wildlife officials said the calf and its mother were spotted Friday offshore near the mouth of the St. Johns River. The commission said the mother had been spotted five days ago off the Georgia coast.

(Read more endangered species stories.)

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