Dead Right Whale Calf Found in Cape Cod Bay

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, via Flickr.com

 On Thurs., April 13, researchers conducting right whale surveys in Cape Cod Bay reported a deceased right whale calf in Cape Cod Bay. The calf was a female and estimated to be 25’ long.

The U.S. Coast Guard towed the carcass to shore, where it will be recovered for a necropsy. IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), the local authorized stranding response organization, is leading the efforts to recover the carcass with support from the right whale research and response communities. The purpose of the necropsy is to collect samples and possibly determine a cause of death, as well as to identify genetic relatedness to other right whales in the population.

There has been a record high number of endangered right whales in Cape Cod Bay this year. As such, boaters are being asked to keep a close look out for right whales at all times and to travel slowly (under 10 knots) to prevent injury to both whales and people.

Right whales often hang just below the surface and are difficult to see, but can weigh 55 tons. Look for blows, ripples in the water, and patches of plankton–these are often signs that whales are in the area. Vessels and aircraft are required to maintain a distance of 500 yards from right whales.