The first right whale of this year’s calving season has been spotted off the coast of Florida. Surveys to spot the endangered mammal have not started yet, but fishermen saw a whale last weekend.
Biologist Barb Zoodsma with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries said boaters who see whales need to back away and leave them alone. Repeated encounters with humans are an added strain on them as they struggle to survive.
“It’s hard to do, these are awesome animals,” she said. “It’s hard to do but we just can’t love them to death. We’ve just got to give them space.”
People who spot a right whale should also call 1-877-WHALE-HELP so NOAA can alert other ships in the area.
Zoodsma said pregnant females tend to arrive earlier, so it is possible the whale seen in Florida is getting ready to give birth.