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Decline of North Atlantic Right Whale Population Continues

The “critically endangered” North Atlantic right whale’s population continues to decline, according to a press release from New England Aquarium. A report by the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium stated the population dropped 2.3 percent, from 348 whales in 2020 to 340 in 2021.

The 2020 right whale population was initially thought to be 336, but new photographic data of the animals adjusted that number to 348, according to the release.

A graph provided by New England Aquarium shows that right whales were on a path to recovery from 1990 to around 2010, approaching 500 whales, before a steep population decline began in 2015. The current right whale population is similar to numbers from around 2001.

The continued shrinking population showed that “more individual whales died than were born.” According to the release, 15 right whale calves were born in 2022, lower than the 18 born in 2021 and the 24 calves born per year in the early 2000s.

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