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Right whales are threatened with extinction, after 17 die this year, say scientists

A southern right whale in Argentina in 2011.

(REUTERS/Maxi Jonas, File)

Scientists are raising a red flag about the future of the endangered right whales after a high number of death in 2017.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that there are only about 450 North Atlantic right whales left after 17 were reported dead this year, according to the Phys.org. And the news of such high mortality was compounded by a low number of births in 2017.

A Southern right whale off the coast of Argentina’s Patagonian village of Puerto Piramides in 2009.

(REUTERS/Maxi Jonas)

According to the Guardian, there are only about 100 breeding female whales that are active in the species, making the fear of extinction to be more real.

“You don’t need to use the extinction word, because that is where the trend lines say that they are,” said John Bullard, NOAA’s Northeast Regional Administrator. “That is something we can’t let that happen.”

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Together with the low number of breeding females, a study published in Endangered Species Research suggests that entrapment in fishing lines peaks of stress in men, reducing their ability to reproduce.

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