The fourth right whale calf of the season has been spotted off the coast of Georgia.
The FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute posted its excitement on Facebook last week.
The post states the calf was born to “Boomerang,” nicknamed due to a scar on her fluke. Boomerang, 23, has given birth to at least four calves, the last one during the winter of 2014-2015.
Boomerang and companion “Magnet,” 10, were first spotted this season in early December, just southeast of Tybee Island.
Researchers spotted other possibly pregnant female whales off the coast in December, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reported.
“To have five out of the six first whales seen down here possibly being pregnant females, that’s very hopeful,” Julie Albert, coordinator of the right whale sighting hotline for the Marine Resources Council, told the News-Journal.
There were no right whale calves reported last year.
The North Atlantic right whale is Georgia’s official state marine mammal, and the state Department of Natural Resources says coastal Georgia is its calving ground.
Right whales are now one of the rarest of all the great whales, according to DNR, with the population estimated to be around 400. The mammals were listed as endangered in 1970 and are protected by disturbance and injury by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Georgia Endangered Wildlife Act of 1973.
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