Typically, the right whales visit their feeding grounds around Buzzards Bay, up to the border of Canada. Flight surveys in previous years have shown hundreds of right whales. Flight surveys from November 2012 to July 2013 have only shown about 50. The surveys are done by researchers who fly low and gather information, such as the location and appearance of the whales, so they can identify and catalog the population and mortality rate of the endangered species.
In the past year, only 11 right whales were spotted in the Bay of Fundy, which is between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Normally, there are hundreds.
Like most endangered species, the existence of the right whale is being threatened by humans. They are hit by large vessels, or injured from fishing lines and gear.
Scientists are speculating that the right whales have found food elsewhere. They like to feed on a specific species of zooplankton, which were also in decline over the last year. The right whales that have been spotted look healthy, so there is hope that the ones that have seemed to disappear are in fact okay.
Southern right whales are not faring well either. Hundreds of calves have mysteriously died, according to National Geographic.