BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Scientists at the New England Aquarium are concerned about one critically endangered whale species after a dead North Atlantic right whale washed ashore with human-caused injuries.
A 20-year-old male right whale washed ashore in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Sunday. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists believe the whale died from "catastrophic blunt force trauma," caused by a vessel strike.
NOAA said the whale's death is bringing light to the ongoing human-caused threats North Atlantic right whales face.
“It has been a challenging few weeks for right whales, and for those that care about them. Four newly entangled whales have been discovered since the beginning of January and now #3343’s death. And all of the whales with families that we know well,” Philip Hamilton, senior scientist at the New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, said in a statement.
North Atlantic right whales are a critically endangered species. There are fewer than 350 right whales in the population, The New England Aquarium estimates.
More than 20 right whales were spotted on an aerial survey south of Nantucket earlier this week. The New England Aquarium said since January, dozens of other whales have been sighted in Cape Cod Bay.