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Canada  

Right whales on the decline

Researchers with the U.S. government and the New England Aquarium have developed a new model they said will provide better estimates about the North Atlantic right whale population, and the news isn't good.

The model could be critically important to efforts to save the endangered species, which is in the midst of a year of high mortality, said Peter Corkeron, who leads the large whale team for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

The agency said the analysis shows the probability the population has declined since 2010 is nearly 100 per cent.

"One problem was, are they really going down or are we not seeing them?" Corkeron said. "They really have gone down, and that's the bottom line."

The agency said the number of whales declined from 482 in 2010 to 458 in 2015. That follows a period of slow recovery for the animals, which increased from about 270 in 1990, the agency said.

There were 14 known deaths of North Atlantic right whales so far in 2017, and reproduction has been poor, scientists say.



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