South Florida Inlet - Rare Visitors

Lorea Thomson
Posted by Lorea Thomson
Updated on
Published in Boating

A rare North Atlantic right mother whale and calf appeared this week in the Sebastian Inlet and meandered into the mouth of the Indian River Lagoon.

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species of large whales.  According to the World Wildlife Federation, there are approximately 500 whales and very little population growth even though seven decades of protection have been in place.  The whale is usually found along the Atlantic Coastline, primarily the United States and Canada.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have been following the particular North Atlantic right whale for four years now.  They have named her “Clipper” for she has a missing section of her fluke. These whales migrate every year in November from Canada and Maine’s colder waters to the warmer waters of North Carolina and Florida. It is believed that the calf is “Clipper’s” first offspring.

The whales started swimming back out to the inlet the following day. The current was very strong, a low tide and shadows cast from the bridge scared the calf. The calf would turn around and head back towards the mouth of the lagoon.   Researchers observed that both whales appeared healthy.  After 15 attempts to coax her baby calf out the inlet, she eventually succeeded.  The pair were observed swimming north west out of the Inlet and headed north of Martin County to the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.



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