After centuries of whaling, the North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species in the U.S. and the rarest of all the large whales. Only 450-500 whales remain, and deaths from ship strikes are hindering their recovery.
One of the dangers whales face is entanglement in fishing gear such as longlines, traps and pots. When officials become aware of these events, disentanglement teams are sent out to assess the situation and free the whales whenever possible.
Some researchers have worried that the stress of being caught in fishing gear and the prolonged exposure to humans during the rescue might permanently affect the whales, possibly hindering their ability to reproduce. But this birthing season, three formerly entangled right whales were spotted and photographed with their calves, The Washington Post reports.
Equator, so named for the rope scar around her middle, was seen with her newborn near Little Saint Simon’s island off the Georgia coast.