Authorities are concerned that the North Atlantic right whale, already extremely endangered, could be facing extinction soon if nothing is done.
As we reported recently, authorities claim the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale faces extinction if nothing is done, but it’s the remarkably tenuous condition these whales are in that not many people are aware of that truly show the dire situation of this species. Experts estimate that there are just 450 individuals in existence, and after another deadly year where 17 whales were killed in 2017, authorities worry that the end of the species is nearing.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warns that just 100 breeding females of the species remain, and that if action isn’t taken right away, the species may not ever recover. John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, went so far as to tell ABC News that experts “have to use the extinction word, because that’s where the trend lines say they are.”
Recent trends suggest the whale population is growing slightly, but with such a small population that trend can be reversed very quickly. The killing of so many of these whales in 2017 causes authorities to worry that just such a thing may be happening.
“In 2011, the western North Atlantic population numbered at least 465 individual right whales,” reads information on NOAA’s website. “Recent analysis of sightings data suggests a slight growth in population size, however, North Atlantic right whales remain critically endangered and with such a small population, the population trend could change quickly. … Although precise estimates of abundance are not available for the eastern North Atlantic right whales, the population is nearly extinct, probably only numbering in the low tens of animals. It is unclear whether right whales found in the eastern North Atlantic represent a “relict” population or whether all or some of these whales are individuals from the known western North Atlantic population.”