Incredibly rare encounter with North Atlantic Right Whale
The North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) is one of the most endangered whales in the world, with an estimate of only 300-450 individuals remaining!
There are two other species of Right Whale: the Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis), and the North Pacific Right Whale (Eubalaena japonica). All three species received this name because whalers referred to them as the "right" whales to kill, due to their large amount of oil and baleen, which had many uses. Also, they usually travel at no more than about 10 miles per hour, making them easy to capture, and they float once they are dead, making the carcass much easier to salvage.
They came close to extinction by 1750, and although they became internationally protected in the first half of the 20th century, they might still go extinct in about 20 years. The populations of Southern Right Whale have been growing since, but the North Atlantic Right Whale is still very rare.
In spite of whaling no longer being a threat to them, their main causes of known mortality are entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes. When ships run into them, the damage is often fatal; they might die at the time of the impact, or later, from blood loss or other complications. And although Ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement are the leading causes of death for North Atlantic Right Whales, they aren't the only ones. Right Whales are very sensitive to noise, so the sound pollution from seismic airguns, etc., is another very real threat, especially when combined with the first two.
This video was shot while researching the whales with the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS), for conservation purposes. The motor was turned off, to avoid any accidents. They must be admired from a safe distance, and must not be approached.