Whale Calf Injured In Collision Off South Carolina Coast
The NOAA announced today that a right whale calf was injured in the Atlantic. The incident took place off the coast of Edisto, South Carolina. The calf was spotted on January 3, 2024, and videos were shared by the public. In the video, several propeller wounds were visible on the head, mouth, and left lip of the calf. These injuries according to the NOAA are consistent with a vessel strike. They anticipate the calf will likely die as a result.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is “dismayed” upon hearing this news. They want the public to know that this serious injury, and many others caused by vessel strikes are preventable. The easiest way to do this is to simply reduce the speed at which vessels are traveling. It is a widely accepted fact that slowing speeds to 10 knots reduces a whale’s risk of death from collisions by 80%-90%.
“Blunt force trauma, lacerations, and death are likely outcomes of a collision with a vessel,” said Dr. Sarah Sharp. Sharp is an Animal Rescue Veterinarian with IFAW. “Vessels of all sizes are at risk of harming the critically endangered right whale.”
The Future Of Right Whales
According to statistics provided to us courtesy of IFAW there is an estimated population of 356 right whales in the North Atlantic as of October 2023. And since 2018 right whales have been involved in collisions. Vessels pose a significant risk to the animals. They face extinction in the next 12-15 years if trends continue.
“This serious injury, and likely death, of this critically endangered calf is utterly tragic, but completely avoidable. Collisions with vessels are one of the leading causes of death for the North Atlantic right whale.” said Kathleen Collins, Senior Campaign Manager, IFAW. “Being aware while on the water and slowing vessels down when whales are in the area is the best way to save this critically endangered species.”
What Animals Might You See On the Coast of South Carolina?
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