The first survey of the year discovered 12 endangered North Atlantic right whales swimming in Cape Cod Bay, according to Cape Cod Online. Last year, flight surveys showed only about 50 right whales around Buzzards Bay for the entire season and scientists were concerned about 500 of the whales had disappeared.
The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium estimates there are only 510 North Atlantic right whales left. Some scientists call this “functionally extinct,” meaning the small population does not contribute a significant part to the surrounding ecosystem.
The flight survey showed a group of nine whales feeding between Long Point and North Truro, which was close to the shore. The other three were spotted later on in the bay.
Most endangered species have fallen prey to human greed. The right whales suffer from ship strikes, getting entangled in fishing lines and climate change. Therefore, The National Marine Fisheries Service issued a requirement that ships go slow in the areas where the endangered right whales breed and feed.
More research is expected.