North Atlantic Right Whale Faces Extinction Crisis, Report Says

"An international group of scientists said more than a quarter of plants and animals worldwide are threatened"

"The North Atlantic right whale is “one step from extinction,” an international group of governments and scientists declared Thursday, slightly more than a month after President Trump lifted restrictions on commercial fishing in a key area of the whale’s habitat.

Only about 250 adults remain, the assessment by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said, including 100 breeding females. Collisions with ships, entanglements in fishing nets and underwater noise pollution are killing the animals, which rely on echolocation for basic activities such as feeding, communicating and finding mates.

Atlantic right whales are just one species among many groups of plants and animals that are dying off, the assessment says. More than 1 in 4 species around the world are threatened with extinction. Lemurs in Madagascar have plummeted from hunting. European hamsters have declined because of development. And “the world’s most expensive fungus,” the caterpillar fungus on the Tibetan Plateau, has been nearly wiped out by overharvesting for use in traditional Chinese medicine."

Darryl Fears reports for the Washington Post July 9, 2020.


"Northern Right Whales Are on the Brink, and Trump Could Be Their Last Hope" (New York Times)

"Right Whale Is Now Critically Endangered, Global Group Finds" (AP)

Source: Washington Post, 07/10/2020