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'Stunning' Photos Show 15 North Atlantic Right Whales Swimming, Feeding Off Nantucket

BOSTON (CBS) – An aquarium team captured "stunning" photos showing more than a dozen North Atlantic right whales as they moved south from Canada and made their way off the coast of Nantucket.

An aerial survey team from the New England Aquarium captured the images about 20 miles south of Nantucket from October 1-3.

right whales
North Atlantic right whales off the Nantucket coast. (Image Credit: New England Aquarium)

The team spotted 15 whales swimming close together.

"In addition to feeding, we saw several right whales making body contact with each other using their flippers, heads, and even rolling at the surface—indicating that these whales were socializing as well," said Katherine McKenna, research assistant at the aquarium's Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. "We also observed several humpback whales feeding near the right whales, which highlights the importance and productivity of the southern New England habitat."

Scientist Orla O'Brien said right whales can often be seen feeding over the Nantucket Shoals. It is not clear what the whales are feeding on in that area, it is "a good sign as right whales have had to adapt to the changing distribution of their prey in the last decade."


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