The first right whale calf born in 2019 has been found dead off the coast of New Jersey

On June 25, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received reports of a deceased floating whale off the coast of New Jersey.

Sunday, the whale was identified as the male calf of North Atlantic right whale #3560.

READ MORE: Vessel strikes blamed for at least four of nine right whale deaths in 2019

According to a NOAA release, he was the first of 10 reported calves in the 2019/2020 calving season.

“We were encouraged to learn of this right whale calf’s birth last year, marking the first calf born of the season,” said Philip Hamilton, a New England Aquarium researcher, in the release.

“The news of its death is distressing and yet another setback for an endangered species we are working tirelessly to protect.”

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Visiting Humpback Whale dies in St. Lawrence
Visiting Humpback Whale dies in St. Lawrence

The calf and its mother were first spotted in mid-December, and were last seen April 6 this year. They were photographed together in the Gulf of Mexico in March.

The mother is 15 years old and this was her first calf, the release says.

In the last decade, she has travelled from Canada to Florida.

Her current status is unknown.

Read more: Endangered dead right whale known as ‘Wolverine’ reported drifting in Gulf of St. Lawrence

NOAA says in the release these animals need their space.

Earlier this year, a different right whale calf was struck by a vessel and injured. They were last seen alive Jan. 15, but the calf’s current status is unknown.

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“The law requires keeping a safe distance of at least 500 yards by sea and air (including drones) from North Atlantic right whales because of the dire status of the species,” reads the release.

NOAA completed a necropsy of the calf of right whale #3560.

According to the release, it hopes to share results early this week.

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