Endangered right whales are dying in record numbers off Canada, raising alarm (Science)

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Featuring OTN-funded WHaLE research

The highly endangered North Atlantic right whale is having its worst year in decades. At least 13 of the whales—out of a population believed to be about 450—have died this year, most of them during the past 2.5 months in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Canada’s eastern coast.

The deaths have focused new attention on whether the whales’ range is shifting northward, putting more of the animals in dangerous waters. Some scientists speculate that the whales are looking for new sources of food, perhaps driven north by warming seas. But others are agnostic. “It is entirely possible that right whales have always used that habitat,” says Kim Davies, a postdoctoral oceanographer at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

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