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Act Right Now To Save Right Whales

With fewer than 500 remaining in the world, the North Atlantic right whale is on the brink of extinction.

North Atlantic right whale

We have to ACT RIGHT NOW to pressure the American government to quickly introduce laws that will help save the species. YOU can help (see below).

The biggest threat to these animals was - and still is - man.

In the past, the danger was whaling (hunting). North Atlantic right whales are slow moving whales that live close to the shore and float when killed, so they were a perfect target for whalers and became known as the "right whale" to hunt. Now, they are protected from whaling, but they still face three very serious threats:

 Boat traffic
Unfortunately, right whales are most often found close to the busy coast. Because they socialise and feed near the surface, and because they swim slowly, they are very vulnerable to being hit by passing boats and ships (known as vessel strikes). A whale might be struck by the front of a vessel or by the propeller, and as a result they could die immediately or suffer for a long time from injuries we can't see.

 Getting entangled in fishing equipmententangled right whale named Kingfisher
After vessel strikes, entanglement in fishing gear is the next biggest threat to the continued survival of the North Atlantic right whale. Very little is known about how whales become entangled in gear, though they are most likely to be seen with rope or netting through their baleen, around their tail flukes or around their flippers. Entangled whales do not die immediately. Ropes slowly cut them, causing pain and infection, which can kill a whale, or he/she may starve to death if the entanglement stops them from being able to feed properly. 

Lack of habitat protection
Along the East Coast of America there are areas called 'critical habitat' where large boats and ships must slow down because there might be right whales around. However, the critical habitat only protects a small part of the ocean where right whales are found. They spend a lot of their time migrating through waters where they are not protected but still face a number of threats.

YOU CAN HELP

Ask President Obama's goverment to Act Right Now. North Atlantic right whales need a safe place to live, free from vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglements and pollution. The government can make a difference by, for example, extending rules that are currently in place that force boats to slow down in areas that right whales are found, and increasing the amount of habitat that is protected.

Please sign our online petition (please get adult permission and fill in your date of birth if you are under 18) or write a polite letter to Samuel Rauch, asking him to help protect these endangered whales.

Samuel Rauch
Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910