First right whale calf of season seen by endangered-species observers, Florida wildlife officials say

Wildlife officials in Florida celebrated the spotting of a right whale calf, which they said was the first sighting so far this season.

“The weather outside may be frightful, but endangered-species observers with Coastwise Consulting were hard at work aboard the dredge Bayport when today, they spotted the first North Atlantic right whale calf of the 2018-2019 season!” a Facebook post on Friday from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said.

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The whale calf, traveling with its mother, was heading north near the mouth of the St. John’s River when observers took notice, the post said. The mother had been spotted a few days earlier near Georgia, they added.

The North Atlantic right whale “is one of the most endangered large whales in the world, facing a high likelihood of extinction largely due to human activities,” the FWC explained on their website.

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The state pays attention to the creatures since “their only known calving ground” is situated off the Florida and Georgia coasts, according to the FWC.

Scientists estimate that only a few hundred North Atlantic right whales are left, The Associated Press said. No newborns were reported during the last calving season, the outlet added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.