2014 Florida Volunteer Updates

As the North Atlantic right whales migrate to the South Georgia/Northern Florida coast each winter volunteers help watch for and capture critical details related to this endangered species. This information helps scientists track the fate of the species and acts as a first alert system to pilots in the shipping lanes to avoid accidental killings. This blog shares the findings, photos and other pertinent information gathered from the Palm Coast Sector Volunteer Team while helping to connect and communicate the many ways we can protect the right whales and sustain our wonderful ocean life.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Death of a Right Whale

It was a sad day learning of the loss of one of our young female right whales - especially after so many recent sightings and attempts to free her from entanglements since December.  She was found "swimming dead" about 12 miles off of our beach here in Palm Coast and towed to Butler Park / St Mary's beach for the necropsy (combination autopsy and dissection). This took most of the day after starting at first light.

Below are a few of the images taken about mid-way through. I must warn you they are graphic. I have never witnessed this before and was filled with a variety of emotions flip-flopping between anger and an immense sadness. I kept thinking, "I hope they learn at least as much in the post-mortem research as the joy that fills my heart when watching these whales full of life off of our shores each winter." Knowing that the population is already down to approximately 350...or 349 after today, gives height to this tragedy.  To help convey what is involved in a whale autopsy I put together a video I think you will appreciate. Here is the link. - Watch on! 
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