Right whales are returning to Georgia!
After travelling more than 1,000 miles from feeding grounds off the northeastern U.S. and Canada, right whales return to warmer waters off South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida to give birth.
Yes, right whales know that Georgia is best place to spend the winter. Wrong whales, evidently, go elsewhere. (That must be how experts know the difference between right whales and wrong whales.)
According to our friends at Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), it’s difficult to predict how many whales will return this winter.
The season’s first whales on Georgia’s coast were spotted this week: three breeding-age females. After a slow start last winter, 19 cow/calf pairs were documented in the Southeast, up from seven in 2012 and near the annual average of 21.
In Georgia, researchers search for them by plane from Cumberland to Wassaw Island three times a week, as weather allows.
On the water, Nongame Conservation Section crews photograph whales and take tissue samples for genetics research. DNR is also part of a network of state and federal wildlife organizations that help free whales entangled in fishing gear.
The latest DNR Wildlife Update tells the entire story.