Home / NEWS / Scientists Discover a New Endangered Whale That Lives Only in Coastal United States

Scientists Discover a New Endangered Whale That Lives Only in Coastal United States

By Andrew Alpin, 21 November 2022

Advertisement

3 The whale’s head was a key indicator that it was a new species

Advertisement

The unique shape of the whale’s head was a key piece of evidence that the whale was a new species. It is the only big whale that stays in U.S. waters all year. Jasny said, “This is the only great whale that belongs wholly, as it were, to the United States. And that gives us, I think, a particular responsibility for its protection.”

This is not the first time that people have tried to get stronger protections for the Gulf of Mexico whale. Even before scientists officially named the whale a separate species, some scientists and people who care about the environment worried about its survival chances.

In 2019, NOAA Fisheries finalized a rule that states the Gulf of Mexico whale is an endangered subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. This means that the government has to keep track of its status, designate a “critical habitat” that it needs to survive, and devise a plan for its recovery. The agency reclassified the whale as its own species two years later.

The whale’s head was a key indicator that it was a new species

Img Src: klook.com

2 These whales are on the brink of extinction

Advertisement

Kristen Monsell, who is the legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Oceans Program, said that the endangered status is good news. Still, the federal government needs to do more and act faster to protect the whales.

She said, “They are facing an onslaught of threats,” and added that she hopes the letter will make people consider the issue more seriously. In May 2021, her group and other environmental groups, like Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defence Council, asked NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service to set a 10-knot speed limit year-round in an area off Florida and Alabama where whales tend to float near the surface. This area is about 11,500 square miles in size.

These whales are on the brink of extinction

Img Src: dailymail.co.uk

1 The NOAA is yet to act on the petition

Advertisement

NOAA has still not acted on the petition from the scientists. But Corkeron from the New England Aquarium said he hopes there will soon be more protections and that government leaders will make preserving such a unique species a top priority.

Corkeron asked, “Do we want the oceans to be places where whales can live and thrive, or not? If we don’t care enough to save them, that speaks volumes about who we all are.”

The NOAA is yet to act on the petition

Img Src: i.pinimg.com

Advertisement

Page 3of 3

Related Tags