It’s Endangered Right Whale
64 | HighTideStSimons.com
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From November through April about
one-third of the world’s right whale population
of approx. 450 whales will swim in the
waters off Georgia and Northeast Florida.
They come to our warmer waters to give
birth to their calves before migrating north.
The first calf of the 2010 season was seen
in November about 10 miles east of the
Sapelo Sound in McIntosh County and
appeared healthy as it swam alongside its
Marine biologiests photograph unique
markings on the heads of the whales to help
identify them while the DNR conducts
boat and aerial surveys to monitor the location
of the whales and alert mariners to
reduce the risk of ships striking the whales.
Northern Right Whales are the rarest
of all the great whales. They were listed as
endangered in 1970 and are protected from
disturbance and injury by the Endangered
Species Act of 1973 and the Marine
Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Georgia
also protects right whales under provisions
of the state’s Endangered Wildlife Act of
Coastal waters between 31˚ 15’ N
(Altamaha Sound, GA) and 28˚ 00’ N
(North Sebastian Inlet, FL) serve as the only
known calving area for the North Atlantic
Right Whale and are used from December
to late March.
You can help protect the Right Whale by
being wise stewards of Georgia’s natural
environment, and by enjoying our coatal
waters responsibly. If boating off Georgia’s
coast from December to April, watch for
large black objects in the water, just barely
clearing the surface. Look for a “V” shaped
spout created when the whale breathes.
Reduce speed at night and when visibility is
otherwise impaired. Notify other vessels in
the area if you spot a whale, and report
sightings to authorities. In GA, call 1-800-
272-8363; In FL, call 1-800-DIAL-FMP.
Whales have been spotted between
Jekyll and St. Simons Island. So keep a keen
eye to the horizon... you just might catch a
glimpse of a rare right whale tail!