Mysterious Deaths Of North Atlantic Right Whales Puzzling Canadian Scientists

North American conservationists are scrambling to find out why North Atlantic right whales are dying in unprecedented numbers, with nine deaths in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence in two months, according to Canadian authorities.
The nine deaths make 2017 the deadliest year for the endangered marine mammal since scientists began tracking their numbers in the 1980s, said Kim Davies, a Dalhousie University post-doctoral fellow who is pioneering a way to track their activity in real time.
There are only about 500 North Atlantic right whales left in the world.
Human activity has caused at least some of this summer’s deaths. Three of the whales died from blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a large vessel, while another was killed after becoming entangled in fishing gear, Tonya Wimmer, director of the Marine Animal Response Society, said on Monday.
The carcasses of the whales are so large, Wimmer and her colleagues need a backhoe to get inside the animals to perform necropsies.

Source: Reuters

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