North Atlantic Right Whales Are Nearly Extinct, Officials Say

whales
 Image via wildestanimal / Getty

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is worried about the whales.

At the beginning of the year, researchers counted about 450 North Atlantic right whales in the wild, and 17 of them have already died—primarily ones located off the coasts of Canada and New England. John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, told the Associated Press the overall number is falling because 2017 has been a poor year for reproduction within the species as well. Currently, there are only around 100 breeding female whales left in existence.

Mark Murray-Brown, an Endangered Species Act consultant, told the AP the numbers of right whales has been declining since as early as 2010. He believes Canada and the United States must be doing everything in their power to reverse course. “Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear” are major reasons for whale deaths, he said.

Check out the full report here.