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#113 North Atlantic Right Whale

Critically Endangered

These whales are protected, but unfortunately they die at much higher rates than their low birth numbers can sustain. For instance, most sites I saw while researching them said that in 2017, 17 whales died, and there were no births. In 2019 everyone got excited, because there were 3 births. It is thought that 82% of the deaths that are not due to old age, are from entanglement in fishing line. Much of those lines are what keep lobster traps attached to buoys. Sadly, there has been an uptick because fishermen are using stronger line that the whales are unable to free themselves from. Also, in comparison to the 3 populations of Southern right whales, the Northern Atlantic Right Whale are thin. When the females do not have enough blubber they become infertile. Along with that, being struck by ships is another way the whales rare dying prematurely.

One of my fondest memories from my time in the UK back when I first went in 1994 was at an art museum. I don't remember now what I was looking at other than it was a painting of a boat on rough seas. An older man came and looked at it too, then said hi. When I say I have a face that says "talk to me" I'm not joking. After he introduced himself, I did not get to look at much more art the rest of the day. I can't remember his name, but in the time we chatted I learned so much about him. He was Scottish, visiting London, and said "it's great" in an incredibly thick lovely accent. We listened to the music that was being played which he thought was great. He told me how his son had asthma when he was young, but got a shot in the butt so he's fine now, and its great. He said that before they realized just how bad it was he had been on a whaling ship. He felt sad about it and was glad it was stopped now (that was about the only time he stopped saying it's great, he was very upbeat). He told me he had a glass eye that was fun and worked well, and as you probably guessed, it was great. I was so much more timid and shy back then. If it had happened today I would have gone home with a new friend, contact information and a plan to get in touch again.

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