The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shared some sad news on June 25.
On Thursday, NOAA "received a report of a deceased floating whale off the coast of Elberon, New Jersey." Upon further inspection, NOAA confirmed the deceased animal was a North Atlantic right whale.
The cause of death is unknown at this time, but NOAA, the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, and the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society plan on performing a necropsy on the deceased whale to learn more once they find a secure location for the procedure.
This is the first observed right whale death of 2020, according to NOAA, but unfortunately not the first unexplained death of this endangered species.
"An unusual mortality event has been in effect for North Atlantic right whales since 2017, during which 31 whales have been found dead in U.S. and Canadian waters. (This whale is the 31st found dead.)," NOAA shared in their release about the death.
There are just around 400 North Atlantic right whales left in the world, and only about 95 of those remaining whales are breeding females.
Extensive measures have been taken to protect the North Atlantic right whale, reports NBC New York, but the species is still vulnerable to ship strikes and net entanglements.
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