NARW #1950 found dead floating offshore of the Virginia coast on March 30th.  Photo credit: NOAA.

On March 30th, another North Atlantic Right Whale (NARW) was found dead, this time 50 miles off of the Virginia coast.  The whale was identified as adult female #1950, a six-time mother which gave birth to a new calf this last winter, was found in deteriorating condition indicating the mortality event happened some time ago.  She was found without her calf which will eventually starve without her mother.  The calf therefore is also considered a seriously injured individual and expected mortality.  NARW #1950 is now the 40th identified mortality since the beginning of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) for the species was declared in 2017.

According to NOAA, “Endangered North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction. An Unusual Mortality Event was declared for North Atlantic right whales in 2017, and currently includes 125 individuals (40 dead, 34 seriously injured, and 51 sublethally injured or ill). The primary causes of the UME are entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes in both U.S. and Canadian waters, which are long-standing threats to the recovery of the species.”

There are now seven documented NARW mortalities since the start of 2024.

Read more at the NOAA NARW Update page below.