The Right Whale named METOMPKIN:
Her Story of Survival


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Chapter Two

Right Whale MovieThe northern right whale is the most endangered of all the large whales. There are probably only about 350 of these animals left in the North Atlantic Ocean. Each year fishing gear entangles right whales, and sometimes the whales die. It is especially important to "tag" and free #1707 because she is a young female from such a small population. The scientists and conservationists want her to live and be able to have babies. (Movie)

Even though the northern right whale has been protected since 1937, these whales do not seem to be recovering (Recovery Plans) from all the hunting in the past. Commercial whaling was the major reason for their population numbers (Population Activity) to decline to "the verge of extinction." For a period that began more than 800 years ago and lasted well into the 20th century (Whaling Statistics), these whales were heavily hunted and killed, mainly for their oil and baleen plates.

Right Whale Beached Question - [What does "the verge of extinction" mean?]

Though not hunted any more, this species remains in serious trouble for several reasons: ship collisions, entanglement in certain types of fishing gear, and the unhealthy conditions of the ocean, particularly in areas where they feed. A fast recovery is not possible. Even if deaths due to human actions were reduced or eliminated, it is not expected that the northern right whale will increase in numbers, even in the next 75 years, to the point where we can stop thinking of them as on "the verge of extinction."

Reading List, Kendall Whaling Museum

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