Rare North Pacific Right Whale Seen for the First Time in 62 Years

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A North Pacific right whale was seen off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, last week, marking the first time humans have seen one of the species in over 60 years, and the seventh time in a century, according to British Columbia's The Province.



Biologists Graeme Ellis, John Ford and James Pilkington spotted the rare creature on June 9 near Haida Gwaii, and observed it for a full day. "It was a thrilling experience," said Ford. "We would never have imagined that we would be able to see one. They are critically endangered and extremely rare."

The last time anyone saw a right whale was in 1951, also off the British Columbia coast. Ford estimates that there are no more than 50 of these whales in the area, and only a few hundred left worldwide.



Right whales were plentiful in the mid-19th century and highly prized for their blubber and for the baleen plates on the roofs of their mouths. But the whales were hunted nearly to extinction for these commodities. According to Ford, 30,000 of the whales were killed in a single decade at the time.

Hunting of right whales has been banned since 1935, but they still are at risk for colliding with ships or being caught in fishing lines.

Ford has spent his career hoping to see a right whale. He and his colleagues used the rare opportunity to observe the one they found for as long as they could. "It's an opportunity we may never have again," Ford said.

INCREDIBLY RARE WHITE HUMPBACK SPOTTED OFF NORWAY COAST:

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inthepool2011

Don't worry. I'm sure the Japanese will be along any moment to kill..er.. "research" them any minute.

June 23 2013 at 6:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wretchedmaiden

Its a heartbreaking thought that people still hunt them, but I've seen what they do . I doubt it would matter to that group what species it was or how rare... Beautiful, intelligent, and amazing creatures, and all that group of "fishermen" cares about is stripping them for meat... With as much food as is available these days, they need not do any "scientific research" with cetaceans. makes my blood boil!

June 23 2013 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
SCastillo

WOW, What a site to be able to see. I would have loved to see that Right Whale. I'm from the Coast of Washington State and we see lots of Gray and Orca Whales around here and we never get tired of watching them as they pass through our waters. Lets save our water creatures, do not hunt them. It's just so much fun to watch them swim and breech {jump up out of the water }They are such beautiful animals.

June 23 2013 at 4:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hpizzaboy

If they haven't seen one in 62 years .....how do they know their are fifty left???

June 23 2013 at 1:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
9RRs

Great.. Perfect.. Now that means Japan will be looking for it now. Time to call Paul Watson from Whale Wars to fight them off.

June 23 2013 at 12:04 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to 9RRs's comment
jmg62

Honest to God 9RRs - they've probably already dispatched ships for "SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH"!

June 23 2013 at 1:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ted

baby seal clubbers unite

June 22 2013 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ted

sealclubbers unite

June 22 2013 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jack Hill

Im surprised the whales not extinct beautiful creature
impressive magnificence animal .

June 22 2013 at 11:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kjcm1955

Opps. Ahab

June 22 2013 at 10:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kjcm1955

Where is Arab?

June 22 2013 at 10:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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