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New video shows critically endangered right whale mother and calf in Cape Cod Bay

Majestic video shows right whale mother and her calf in Cape Cod Bay
Majestic video shows right whale mother and her calf in Cape Cod Bay 01:14

WOODS HOLE - Researchers are sharing majestic new video of a right whale mother of four and her newest calf taken this month off the coast of Massachusetts.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) spotted the 37-year-old female named Wolf and her offspring in Cape Cod Bay on April 8. You can watch the footage in the video player above. 

Wolf and her new calf made their way up north from Florida, where they were seen in December. This makes five mother and calf pairs seen in New England waters so far this season.

"Dying faster than they can reproduce"

There are estimated to be fewer than 360 North Atlantic right whales left on the planet, and Wolf is one of fewer than 70 reproductively active females. 

"Every North Atlantic right whale is vital to the species' recovery," WHOI says. "The species is dying faster than they can reproduce, largely due to human causes including entanglements in gear and collisions with boats and ships."

Nineteen calves were born during the 2023-2024 season, WHOI says, but one has already died and four others are injured and not expected to survive

A young female right whale washed up dead on a Martha's Vineyard in January after getting entangled in fishing gear from Maine. Earlier this month, marine biologists found an adult whale with rope caught in its mouth about 50 miles off Block Island.   

North Atlantic Right Whale Day

Massachusetts celebrated its first Right Whale Day in 2023 in an effort to promote conservation and raise awareness about the critically endangered species. The state holiday is April 24, thanks to a bill sponsored by Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Plymouth.

"The North Atlantic right whale is part of our state's rich maritime history and yet, our official state marine mammal is at risk of extinction," Cutler told the New England Aquarium.  

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