December 29, 2018 5:57 pm
Updated: January 21, 2019 6:44 pm

Endangered North Atlantic right whale calf spotted off U.S. coast, heading north

In this Wednesday March 28, 2018 photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass.

Michael Dwyer/The Canadian Press/AP

The first North Atlantic right whale calf of the winter season has been spotted off the Florida coast heading north with its mother, a known resident of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says on Facebook that the two endangered whales were sighted near the mouth of the state’s St. Johns River.

READ MORE: Half of world’s North Atlantic right whales were spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2018

It says the mother – referred to by her catalogue number, 2791 – was spotted five days earlier off the Georgia coast.

Right whales typically migrate south from the North Atlantic to give birth off the coasts of Georgia and Florida from December through March.

WATCH: New study aims to improve conversation around North Atlantic right whales

Melissa Munro, a spokeswoman for the Sierra Club Canada Foundation, says in a statement that no newborns were recorded last year, and the population sits at a critically low number.

She says the population has been downgraded to 411 – only 71 of which are females that could potentially reproduce.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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