The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service has announced it is celebrating the birth of three North Atlantic right whales after the animals were spotted off the coasts of Florida and Georgia on Tuesday.Calvin, an adult North Atlantic right whale, and her calf were seen swimming off the coast of Georgia, while Echo was seen with her calf off Atlantic Beach, Fla., and Arrow and her calf were seen swimming off Amelia Island, also in Florida.According to NOAA Fisheries, Calvin is 28 years old, and this is her fourth calf.READ MORE: 2 new North Atlantic right whale calves spotted off coast of FloridaEcho is 24 years old, and this is her third calf. Her last calf was born 10 years ago, NOAA Fisheries said.The youngest of the moms is 18-year-old Arrow, who gave birth to her second calf. NOAA Fisheries said she last gave birth in 2009.“Any calf is a good sign. We count each one as a sign of hope. [But] we need a lot more,” Philip Hamilton, research scientist at the New England Aquarium, told Global News in January.
Hamilton said there have been 30 North Atlantic right whale deaths in the last three years that were detected but only 12 births.
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“The reason we’ve been having so few births is that many females are delaying when they give birth. A healthy North Atlantic right whale will give birth every three years,” he said.Hamilton explains that female North Atlantic right whales are most likely delaying birth because they’re not finding enough food to build up the fat stores they need to support a calf.
“A female will lose about 20 tons nursing her calf, so if she’s not in robust condition, she would die doing that,” he said.“Rather than dying, they delay their calving.
“Climate change has really been wreaking havoc on the ocean patterns, temperatures and currents.”
Hamilton says that after such low calving due to birth delays, a higher number of 20 to 30 calves is expected.
“I think it’s important to make sure that people understand that they’re not out of the running. They are long-lived species that have survived downturns in calving in the past. So there is definitely still hope for the species,” he said.
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“We have to do what we can do, which is to minimize or eliminate the human-caused serious injury and mortality.”
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