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North Atlantic Right Whales return from near extinction

Right whale cow and calf
Wikicommons (Public Domains tag)

Although it doesn’t sound like much, the fact that 300 right whale calves have been born in the Bay of Fundy since 1998, is giving scientists and environmentalists hope that the species may be slowly working its way back from the brink of extinction. Once hunted into near oblivion, then decimated by collisions with ships, there are now 500 North Atlantic right whales according to Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director of the North American office of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Much of their recovery lies in efforts made by a collaboration between the Irving Oil company of Saint John, New Brunswick, researchers including the New England Aquarium (since 1997), mariner organizations, environmental groups, the Canadian government, and the International Maritime Organization, which worked to get shipping traffic in the Bay of Fundy rerouted, The Bay lies between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and “is an important feeding ground and nursery area for the North Atlantic right whale population,” Silvia stated, adding that the change has resulted in 90% less accidents between whales and ships.

It should also be noted that Irving Oil has donated more than $1 million for right whale research, conservation, and education.

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